Rapid genetic divergence in response to 15 years of simulated climate change



Ravenscroft, Catherine H, Whitlock, Raj ORCID: 0000-0002-7067-8365 and Fridley, Jason D
(2015) Rapid genetic divergence in response to 15 years of simulated climate change. Global Change Biology, 21 (11). 4165 - 4176.

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Abstract

Genetic diversity may play an important role in allowing individual species to resist climate change, by permitting evolutionary responses. Our understanding of the potential for such responses to climate change remains limited, and very few experimental tests have been carried out within intact ecosystems. Here, we use amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data to assess genetic divergence and test for signatures of evolutionary change driven by long-term simulated climate change applied to natural grassland at Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory (BCCIL). Experimental climate treatments were applied to grassland plots for 15 years using a replicated and spatially blocked design and included warming, drought and precipitation treatments. We detected significant genetic differentiation between climate change treatments and control plots in two coexisting perennial plant study species (Festuca ovina and Plantago lanceolata). Outlier analyses revealed a consistent signature of selection associated with experimental climate treatments at individual AFLP loci in P. lanceolata, but not in F. ovina. Average background differentiation at putatively neutral AFLP loci was close to zero, and genomewide genetic structure was associated neither with species abundance changes (demography) nor with plant community-level responses to long-term climate treatments. Our results demonstrate genetic divergence in response to a suite of climatic environments in reproductively mature populations of two perennial plant species and are consistent with an evolutionary response to climatic selection in P. lanceolata. These genetic changes have occurred in parallel with impacts on plant community structure and may have contributed to the persistence of individual species through 15 years of simulated climate change at BCCIL.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 12 pages.
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptation, climate change, evolution, genetic differentiation, grassland
Subjects: ?? QK ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 15:10
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2021 05:10
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12966
Publisher's Statement : © 2015 The Authors. Global Change Biology Bioenergy Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2030579