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Phenotypic responses to temperature in the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila


Weber de Melo, Vanessa; Lowe, Robert; Hurd, Paul J; Petchey, Owen L (2020). Phenotypic responses to temperature in the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila. Ecology and Evolution, 10(14):7616-7626.

Abstract

Understanding the effects of temperature on ecological and evolutionary processes is crucial for generating future climate adaptation scenarios. Using experimental evolution, we evolved the model ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila in an initially novel high temperature environment for more than 35 generations, closely monitoring population dynamics and morphological changes. We observed initially long lag phases in the high temperature environment that over about 26 generations reduced to no lag phase, a strong reduction in cell size and modifications in cell shape at high temperature. When exposing the adapted populations to their original temperature, most phenotypic traits returned to the observed levels in the ancestral populations, indicating phenotypic plasticity is an important component of this species thermal stress response. However, persistent changes in cell size were detected, indicating possible costs related to the adaptation process. Exploring the molecular basis of thermal adaptation will help clarify the mechanisms driving these phenotypic responses.

Abstract

Understanding the effects of temperature on ecological and evolutionary processes is crucial for generating future climate adaptation scenarios. Using experimental evolution, we evolved the model ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila in an initially novel high temperature environment for more than 35 generations, closely monitoring population dynamics and morphological changes. We observed initially long lag phases in the high temperature environment that over about 26 generations reduced to no lag phase, a strong reduction in cell size and modifications in cell shape at high temperature. When exposing the adapted populations to their original temperature, most phenotypic traits returned to the observed levels in the ancestral populations, indicating phenotypic plasticity is an important component of this species thermal stress response. However, persistent changes in cell size were detected, indicating possible costs related to the adaptation process. Exploring the molecular basis of thermal adaptation will help clarify the mechanisms driving these phenotypic responses.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Nature and Landscape Conservation
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 13:29
Last Modified:01 Mar 2021 16:30
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2045-7758
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6486
PubMed ID:32760552

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