Project Description: Roles of Acclimatization & Adaptation in Responding to Climate Change

Summary

To predict the winners and losers of climate change, we must understand the capacity of animals to adjust their physiology to tolerate warmer temperature. This is particularly true for organisms that cannot move away to cooler climates, like plants or animals that have no ability to move. Organisms have a variety of mechanisms that can use to increase temperature tolerance over different timescales. For example, animals can increase their temperature tolerance over the course of their lifetimes in a process called acclimatization, or over multiple generations via genetic adaptation. Our proposal is to test the strength and limits of acclimatization and adaptation in response to temperature variation across small and large spatial scales in an ecologically important, rocky intertidal species, the California sea mussel. We will characterize the capacity for physiological acclimatization and genetic adaptation of a key species in an important U.S. coastal ecosystem. Results from our research can be integrated into mechanistic predictive models to better understand how this species’ distribution is likely to shift with climate change.

Student Involvement

Two CSUMB undergraduate students will be trained to conduct physiological assays and gain a basic understanding of transcriptomics using next generation sequencing. The CSUMB Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC), a program for high achieving undergraduates wishing to pursue graduate school, will support the undergraduate. An M.S. student will also be trained and lead the sample preparation and bioinformatics. I will play a significant role in advising students on technique, preparation, and analysis for all experiments. Students will present their research findings via poster presentations at the Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) conference in Fall 2016.

Broader Significance

This system will be among the first non-model marine species to incorporate physiological and genomic measures of acclimatization and adaptation in a natural setting in the context of increased climate stress. Results from our research can be integrated into mechanistic predictive models to better understand how this species’ distribution is likely to shift with climate change. This CSUPERB proposal will provide funding to collect additional preliminary data to support a full NSF proposal submission to the Integrative and Organismal Systems directorate in 2017.

IfAME PI

Dr. Cheryl Logan

Financial Support

CSUPERB

Field Support

N/A

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