The effect of selection history on extinction risk during severe environmental change: Selection history and extinction risk

Josianne Lachapelle, Nick Colegrave, Graham Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Environments rarely remain the same over time, and populations are therefore frequently at risk of going extinct when changes are significant enough to reduce fitness. While many studies have investigated what attributes of the new environments and of the populations experiencing these changes will affect their probability of going extinct, 39 limited work has been directed toward determining the role of population history on the probability of going extinct during severe environmental change. Here we compare the extinction risk of populations with a history of selection in a benign environment, to populations with a history of selection in one or two stressful environments. We exposed spores and lines of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii from these three different histories to a range of severe environmental changes. We found that the extinction risk was higher for populations with a history of selection in stressful environments compared to populations with a history of selection in a benign environment. This effect was not due to differences in initial population sizes. Finally, the rates of extinction were highly repeatable within histories, indicating strong historical contingency of extinction risk. Hence, information on the selection history of a population can be used to predict their probability of going extinct during environmental change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Early online date12 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Evolutionary rescue
  • historical contingency
  • stressor
  • repeatability
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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