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Responses of Freshwater Invertebrates to Climate Change
Stoks, R., Geerts, A.N. and De Meester, L. 2014. Evolutionary and plastic responses of freshwater invertebrates to climate change: realized patterns and future potential. Evolutionary Applications 7: 42-55.

The authors write that "for populations to persist under climate change, they have to deal in situ with the temperature increase and associated ecological challenges such as changes in predation rates (De Block et al., 2013)," but they say that "it is unclear to what extent organisms evolve in situ to deal with climate change rather than rely on plastic trait changes to buffer them against fitness losses," citing Hoffmann and Srgo (2011), Merila (2012) and Merila and Hendry (2013).

What was done
After reviewing the literature on the subject, Stoks et al. went on to "integrate the available evidence for evolutionary and plastic trait changes in response to climate change in freshwater invertebrates (aquatic insects and zooplankton) of lentic systems, a group that has largely been overlooked in several general reviews of the effects of global warming on organisms."

What was learned
In the words of the three Belgian researchers, "as a matter of fact, most experimental studies provide evidence for evolutionary potential." And they say that "the few experimental studies that allowed testing for it indicated genetic change probably occurred (Bradshaw and Holzapfel, 2001; Harada et al. 2005, 2011; Urbanski et al. 2012) or has the potential to occur (Van Doorslaer et al. 2007, 2009, 2010)," which result, as they continue, "is not unexpected as rapid evolutionary responses to climate change have been reported in long-lived vertebrates," as reported by Boutin and Lane (2013) and Urban and Philips (2013).

What it means
As for the implications of these several findings, Stoks et al. say they suggest that "besides genetic changes, also phenotypic plasticity and evolution of plasticity likely will contribute to observed phenotypic changes under global warming in aquatic invertebrates," which further suggests that freshwater invertebrates should be able to weather whatever challenges (in the form of changes) earth's climate may thrust upon them.

Boutin, S. and Lane, J. 2013. Climate change and mammals: evolutionary versus plastic responses. Evolutionary Applications 7: 29-41.

Bradshaw, W.E. and Holzapfel, C.M. 2001. Genetic shift in photoperiod response correlated with global warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98: 14,509-14,511.

De Block, M., Pauwels, K., Van Den Brock, M., De Meester, L. and Stoks, R. 2013. Local genetic adaptation generates latitude-specific effects of warming on predator-prey interactions. Global Change Biology 19: 689-696.

Harada, T., Nitta, S. and Ito, K. 2005. Photoperiodism changes according to global warming in wing-form determination and diapause induction of a water strider, Aquarius paludum (Heteroptera: Gerridae). Applied Entomology and Zoology 40: 461-466.

Harada, T., Takenaka, S., Maihara, S., Ito, K. and Tamura, T. 2011. Changes in life-history traits of the water strider Aquarius paludum in accordance with global warming. Physiological Entomology 36: 309-316.

Hoffmann, A.A. and Srgo, C.M. 2011. Climate change and evolutionary adaptation. Nature 470: 479-485.

Merila, J. 2012. Evolution in response to climate change: in pursuit of the missing evidence. BioEssays 34: 811-818.

Merila, J. and Hendry, A. 2013. Climate change, adaptation, and phenotypic plasticity: the problem and the evidence. Evolutionary Applications 7: 1-14.

Urban, M. and Phillips, B. 2013. Plasticity and genetic adaptation mediate amphibian and reptile responses to climate change. Evolutionary Applications 7: 88-103.

Urbanski, J., Mogi, M., O'Donnell, D., DeCotiis, M., Toma, T. and Armbruster, P. 2012. Rapid adaptive evolution of photoperiodic response during invasion and range expansion across a climatic gradient. The American Naturalist 179: 490-500.

Van Doorslaer, W., Stoks, R., Jeppesen, E. and De Meester, L. 2007. Adaptive microevolutionary responses to simulated global warming in Simocephalus vetulus: a mesocosm study. Global Change Biology 13: 878-886.

Van Doorslaer, W., Stoks, R., Duvivier, C., Bednarska, A. and De Meester, L. 2009. Population dynamics determine genetic adaptation to temperature in Daphnia. Evolution 63: 1867-1878.

Van Doorslaer, W., Stoks, R., Swillen, I., Feuchtmayr, H., Atkinson, D., Moss, B. and De Meester, L. 2010. Experimental thermal microevolution in community-embedded Daphnia populations. Climate Research 43: 81-89.

Reviewed 11 June 2014