skip to main content

Title: Adaptation Without Boundaries: Population Genomics in Marine Systems
From the surface, the world’s oceans appear vast and boundless. Ocean currents, which can transport marine organisms thousands of kilometers, coupled with species that spend some or all of their life in the pelagic zone, the open sea, highlight the potential for well-mixed, panmictic marine populations. Yet these ocean habitats do harbor boundaries. In this largely three-dimensional marine environment, gradients form boundaries. These gradients include temperature, salinity, and oxygen gradients. Ocean currents also form boundaries between neighboring water masses even as they can break through barriers by transporting organisms huge distances. With the advent of next-generation sequencing approaches, which allow us to easily generate a large number of genomic markers, we are in an unprecedented position to study the effects of these potential oceanic boundaries and can ask how often and when do locally adapted marine populations evolve. This knowledge will inform our understanding of how marine organisms respond to climate change and affect how we protect marine diversity. In this chapter I first discuss the major boundaries present in the marine environment and the implications they have for marine organisms. Next, I discuss the how genomic approaches are impacting our understanding of genetic connectivity, ocean fisheries, and local adaptation, more » including the potential for epigenetic adaptation. I conclude with considerations for marine conservation and management and future prospects. « less
Authors:
Award ID(s):
1754437 1556396
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10147609
Journal Name:
Population Genomics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The exceptionally large population size and cosmopolitan biogeographic distribution that distinguish many – but not all – marine zooplankton species generate similarly exceptional patterns of population genetic and genomic diversity and structure. The phylogenetic diversity of zooplankton has slowed the application of population genomic approaches, due to lack of genomic resources for closelyrelated species and diversity of genomic architecture, including highly-replicated genomes of many crustaceans. Use of numerous genomic markers, especially single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), is transforming our ability to analyze population genetics and connectivity of marine zooplankton, and providing new understanding and different answers than earlier analyses, which typically used mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite markers. Population genomic approaches have confirmed that, despite high dispersal potential, many zooplankton species exhibit genetic structuring among geographic populations, especially at large ocean-basin scales, and have revealed patterns and pathways of population connectivity that do not always track ocean circulation. Genomic and transcriptomic resources are critically needed to allow further examination of micro-evolution and local adaptation, including identification of genes that show evidence of selection. These new tools will also enable further examination of the significance of small-scale genetic heterogeneity of marine zooplankton, to discriminate genetic “noise” in large and patchy populations from localmore »adaptation to environmental conditions and change.« less
  2. Populations within species often exhibit variation in traits that reflect local adaptation and further shape existing adaptive potential for species to respond to climate change. However, our mechanistic understanding of how the environment shapes trait variation remains poor. Here, we used common garden experiments to quantify thermal performance in eight populations of the marine snail Urosalpinx cinerea across thermal gradients on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts of North America. We then evaluated the relationship between thermal performance and environmental metrics derived from time-series data. Our results reveal a novel pattern of ‘mixed’ trait performance adaptation, where thermal optima were positively correlated with spawning temperature (cogradient variation), while maximum trait performance was negatively correlated with season length (countergradient variation). This counterintuitive pattern probably arises because of phenological shifts in the spawning season, whereby ‘cold’ populations delay spawning until later in the year when temperatures are warmer compared to ‘warm’ populations that spawn earlier in the year when temperatures are cooler. Our results show that variation in thermal performance can be shaped by multiple facets of the environment and are linked to organismal phenology and natural history. Understanding the impacts of climate change on organisms, therefore, requires the knowledge of howmore »climate change will alter different aspects of the thermal environment.« less
  3. Marine multicellular organisms host a diverse collection of bacteria, archaea, microbial eukaryotes, and viruses that form their microbiome. Such host-associated microbes can significantly influence the host’s physiological capacities; however, the identity and functional role(s) of key members of the microbiome (“core microbiome”) in most marine hosts coexisting in natural settings remain obscure. Also unclear is how dynamic interactions between hosts and the immense standing pool of microbial genetic variation will affect marine ecosystems’ capacity to adjust to environmental changes. Here, we argue that significantly advancing our understanding of how host-associated microbes shape marine hosts’ plastic and adaptive responses to environmental change requires (i) recognizing that individual host–microbe systems do not exist in an ecological or evolutionary vacuum and (ii) expanding the field toward long-term, multidisciplinary research on entire communities of hosts and microbes. Natural experiments, such as time-calibrated geological events associated with well-characterized environmental gradients, provide unique ecological and evolutionary contexts to address this challenge. We focus here particularly on mutualistic interactions between hosts and microbes, but note that many of the same lessons and approaches would apply to other types of interactions.
  4. Abstract A substantial body of research now exists demonstrating sensitivities of marine organisms to ocean acidification (OA) in laboratory settings. However, corresponding in situ observations of marine species or ecosystem changes that can be unequivocally attributed to anthropogenic OA are limited. Challenges remain in detecting and attributing OA effects in nature, in part because multiple environmental changes are co-occurring with OA, all of which have the potential to influence marine ecosystem responses. Furthermore, the change in ocean pH since the industrial revolution is small relative to the natural variability within many systems, making it difficult to detect, and in some cases, has yet to cross physiological thresholds. The small number of studies that clearly document OA impacts in nature cannot be interpreted as a lack of larger-scale attributable impacts at the present time or in the future but highlights the need for innovative research approaches and analyses. We summarize the general findings in four relatively well-studied marine groups (seagrasses, pteropods, oysters, and coral reefs) and integrate overarching themes to highlight the challenges involved in detecting and attributing the effects of OA in natural environments. We then discuss four potential strategies to better evaluate and attribute OA impacts on species andmore »ecosystems. First, we highlight the need for work quantifying the anthropogenic input of CO2 in coastal and open-ocean waters to understand how this increase in CO2 interacts with other physical and chemical factors to drive organismal conditions. Second, understanding OA-induced changes in population-level demography, potentially increased sensitivities in certain life stages, and how these effects scale to ecosystem-level processes (e.g. community metabolism) will improve our ability to attribute impacts to OA among co-varying parameters. Third, there is a great need to understand the potential modulation of OA impacts through the interplay of ecology and evolution (eco–evo dynamics). Lastly, further research efforts designed to detect, quantify, and project the effects of OA on marine organisms and ecosystems utilizing a comparative approach with long-term data sets will also provide critical information for informing the management of marine ecosystems.« less
  5. Surface ocean biogeochemistry and photochemistry regulate ocean–atmosphere fluxes of trace gases critical for Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. The oceanic processes governing these fluxes are often sensitive to the changes in ocean pH (or p CO 2 ) accompanying ocean acidification (OA), with potential for future climate feedbacks. Here, we review current understanding (from observational, experimental and model studies) on the impact of OA on marine sources of key climate-active trace gases, including dimethyl sulfide (DMS), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), ammonia and halocarbons. We focus on DMS, for which available information is considerably greater than for other trace gases. We highlight OA-sensitive regions such as polar oceans and upwelling systems, and discuss the combined effect of multiple climate stressors (ocean warming and deoxygenation) on trace gas fluxes. To unravel the biological mechanisms responsible for trace gas production, and to detect adaptation, we propose combining process rate measurements of trace gases with longer term experiments using both model organisms in the laboratory and natural planktonic communities in the field. Future ocean observations of trace gases should be routinely accompanied by measurements of two components of the carbonate system to improve our understanding of how in situ carbonate chemistry influences tracemore »gas production. Together, this will lead to improvements in current process model capabilities and more reliable predictions of future global marine trace gas fluxes.« less