Slow and population specific evolutionary response to a warming environment

Marta A. Santos, Marta A. Antunes, Afonso Grandela, Ana S. Quina, Mauro Santos, Margarida Matos, Pedro Simões

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Adaptation to increasingly warmer environments may be critical to avoid extinction. Whether and how these adaptive responses can arise is under debate. Though several studies have tackled evolutionary responses under different thermal selective regimes, very few have specifically addressed the underlying patterns of thermal adaptation under scenarios of progressive warming conditions. Also, considering how much past history affects such evolutionary response is critical. Here, we report a long-term experimental evolution study addressing the adaptive response of Drosophila subobscura populations with distinct biogeographical history to two thermal regimes. Our results showed clear differences between the historically differentiated populations, with adaptation to the warming conditions only evident in the low latitude populations. Furthermore, this adaptation was only detected after more than 30 generations of thermal evolution. Our findings show some evolutionary potential of Drosophila populations to respond to a warming environment, but the response was slow and population specific, emphasizing limitations to the ability of ectotherms to adapt to rapid thermal shifts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Experimental evolution
  • Ecology
  • Evolutionary ecology

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