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Am Nat. 2013 Jun;181(6):846-54. doi: 10.1086/670336. Epub 2013 May 1.

Trade-offs, geography, and limits to thermal adaptation in a tide pool copepod.

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Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Antagonistic correlations among traits may slow the rate of adaptation to a changing environment. The tide pool copepod Tigriopus californicus is locally adapted to temperature, but within populations, the response to selection for increased heat tolerance plateaus rapidly, suggesting either limited variation within populations or costs of increased tolerance. To measure possible costs of thermal tolerance, we selected for increased upper lethal limits for 10 generations in 22 lines of T. californicus from six populations. Then, for each line, we measured six fitness-related traits. Selected lines showed an overall increase in male and female body sizes, fecundity, and starvation resistance, suggesting a small benefit from (rather than costs of) increased tolerance. The effect of selection on correlated traits also varied significantly by population for five traits, indicating that the genetic basis for the selection response differed among populations. Our results suggest that adaptation was limited by the presence of variation within isolated populations rather than by costs of increased tolerance.

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