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Experimental evolution gone wild

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  • M. Scheinin
  • U. Riebesell
  • T. A. Rynearson
  • K. T. Lohbeck
  • S. Collins

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    Rights statement: & 2015 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number20150056
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number106
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


Because of their large population sizes and rapid cell division rates, marine microbes have, or can generate, ample variation to fuel evolution over a few weeks or months, and subsequently have the potential to evolve in response to global change. Herewe measure evolution in the marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi evolved in a natural plankton community in CO<inf>2</inf>-enriched mesocosms deployed in situ. Mesocosm enclosures are typically used to study how the species composition and biogeochemistry of marine communities respond to environmental shifts, but have not been used for experimental evolution to date. Using this approach, we detect a large evolutionary response to CO<inf>2</inf> enrichment in a focal marine diatom, where population growth rate increased by 1.3-fold in high CO<inf>2</inf>-evolved lineages. This study opens an exciting new possibility of carrying out in situ evolution experiments to understand how marine microbial communities evolve in response to environmental change.

    Research areas

  • Carbon dioxide, Diatom evolution, Experimental evolution, In situ mesocosms, Ocean acidification, Skeletonema

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