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Trends Ecol Evol. 2014 Feb;29(2):117-25. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

Evolution in an acidifying ocean.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada; Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Electronic address:
Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK.
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, Kristineberg, 45178, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia; School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia.
Romberg Tiburon Center and Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA; Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley, Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.


Ocean acidification poses a global threat to biodiversity, yet species might have the capacity to adapt through evolutionary change. Here we summarize tools available to determine species' capacity for evolutionary adaptation to future ocean change and review the progress made to date with respect to ocean acidification. We focus on two key approaches: measuring standing genetic variation within populations and experimental evolution. We highlight benefits and challenges of each approach and recommend future research directions for understanding the modulating role of evolution in a changing ocean.


adaptation; climate change; evolutionary potential; experimental evolution; ocean acidification; quantitative genetics

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