Adjusting to the extreme: Thermal adaptation in a freshwater gastropod
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Temperature is a ubiquitous force influencing biological processes ranging from cellular responses to life span. The thermal environment for many organisms is predicted to change with globally increasing temperatures and studies conducted in natural systems incorporating various evolutionary forces, such as gene flow, is needed. In my thesis, I investigate how snails (Radix balthica) originating from distinct geothermal environments within Lake Mývatn in northern Iceland have adapted, both genetically and phenotypically, to the respective thermal regime. Locations were classified as either cold, warm or seasonal depending on the average and variance in temperature. A high resolution spatial distribution of genetic variation within Mývatn was obtained using both neutral and outlier AFLPs. In addition, the genetic profile enabled me identify warm origin snails irrespective of geographic location in Iceland. Warm environments were often more stressful than cold or seasonal environments but snails originating from a high temperature location benefited from increased performance elsewhere. Patterns of growth were identical in both common garden and reciprocal transplant experiment; warm origin snails grew faster than both cold and seasonal origin snails. This result is in concordance with quantitative genetics models of thermal adaptation but suggesting cogradient rather than countergradient variation. Although warm origin snails generally had superior performance, survival at cold temperatures (< 12 °C) was reduced. All snails matured at similar size in the common garden experiment but cold origin snails were observed to mature later and lay fewer eggs. Also, snails had a common optimum for growth rate at 20 °C irrespective of thermal origin. This is arguably the reason why snails were observed to have a common thermal preference. Interestingly, warm origin snails had a reduced tolerance to high temperatures compared to cold and seasonal origin snails which did not differ in tolerance. Putatively, natural selection has reduced a putatively unnecessary trait (high temperature tolerance in a stable thermal environment) in favour of higher growth rate and performance in warm habitats. In conclusion, the price of high performance in a warm environment was paid in terms of reduced survival at low temperatures and a potential disadvantage of reduced genetic variability.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. , 49 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1251
Radix balthica, Lake Mývatn, geothermal springs, thermal adaptation, isolation by environment, population structure, gene flow, cogradient variation, AFLP, thermal preference, CTmax
Research subject Biology with specialization in Population Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-248495ISBN: 978-91-554-9243-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-248495DiVA: diva2:801342
2015-06-05, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, 2tr, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Stoks, Robby, Prof.
Anssi, Laurila, Prof.
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