Integrative and Comparative Biology vol:51 issue:5 pages:703-718
Genetic adaptation to temperature change can impact responses of populations and communities to global warming. Here we integrate previously published results on experimental evolution trials with follow-up experiments involving the water flea Daphnia as a model system. Our research shows (1) the capacity of natural populations of this species to genetically adapt to changes in temperature in a time span of months to years, (2) the context-dependence of these genetic changes, emphasizing the role of ecology and community composition on evolutionary responses to climatic change, and (3) the impact of micro-evolutionary changes on immigration success of preadapted genotypes. Our study involves (1) experimental evolution trials in the absence and presence of the community of competitors, predators, and parasites, (2) life-table and competition experiments to assess the fitness consequences of micro-evolution, and (3) competition experiments with putative immigrant genotypes. We use these observations as building blocks of an evolving metacommunity to understand biological responses to climatic change. This approach integrates both local and regional responses at both the population and community levels. Finally, we provide an outline of current gaps in knowledge and suggest fruitful avenues for future research.