Environmental change is a potential source of new or intensified directional selection on traits with important implications for fitness. These changes in selection pressures could involve different ecological and evolutionary responses from natural populations: Excluding local extinction, organisms can respond in three ways to climate change: (1) they can disperse to more hospitable environments, (i.e. “migration”); (2) they can exhibit acclimatory (reversible) responses to short-term changes in environmental conditions (i.e., “phenotypic flexibility”); and/or (3) populations can adapt to the environmental changes by mean of genetic changes through evolutionary processes (i.e., adaptive evolution). However, the existence of great environmental fluctuations through broad geographical ranges, constrain the availability of suitable habitats to disperse, and therefore, natural populations are forced to adjust to the shifts in environmental conditions by mean of plastic or genetic responses.
In this talk I am going to describe the use of different approaches (ecophysiology, quantitative-genetics and transcriptomics) to study adaptive microevolutionary processes in marine organisms under a Climate Change context. I will talk about the role of phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in the understanding of the evolutionary responses of natural populations along upwelling systems in California and Chile, as well as extreme environments such as Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
Juan Diego Gaitán Espitia (JD), is a marine biologist from Colombia with a Master in Marine Sciences and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at SWIMS-HKU working on Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics in changing oceans.
Phenotypic plasticity, local adaptation, eco-evolutionary dynamics, experimental evolution, host-microbiome interactions and climate change