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Evolution, microbes, and changing ocean conditions

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-208
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020


Experimental evolution and the associated theory are underutilized in marine microbial studies; the two fields have developed largely in isolation. Here, we review evolutionary tools for addressing four key areas of ocean global change biology: linking plastic and evolutionary trait changes, the contribution of environmental variability to determining trait values, the role of multiple environmental drivers in trait change, and the fate of populations near their tolerance limits. Wherever possible, we highlight which data from marine studies could use evolutionary approaches and where marine model systems can advance our understanding of evolution. Finally, we discuss the emerging field of marine microbial experimental evolution. We propose a framework linking changes in environmental quality (defined as the cumulative effect on population growth rate) with population traits affecting evolutionary potential, in order to understand which evolutionary processes are likely to be most important across a range of locations for different types of marine microbes.

    Research areas

  • carbon dioxide, driver emergence, environmental fluctuation, evolutionary rescue, experimental evolution, global change, marine microbiology, multiple stressors, plasticity

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