Jan 11, 2013

Long-term culture at elevated atmospheric CO2 fails to evoke specific adaptation in seven freshwater phytoplankton species

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Etienne Low-DécarieG Bell


The concentration of CO(2) in the atmosphere is expected to double by the end of the century. Experiments have shown that this will have important effects on the physiology and ecology of photosynthetic organisms, but it is still unclear if elevated CO(2) will elicit an evolutionary response in primary producers that causes changes in physiological and ecological attributes. In this study, we cultured lines of seven species of freshwater phytoplankton from three major groups at current (approx. 380 ppm CO(2)) and predicted future conditions (1000 ppm CO(2)) for over 750 generations. We grew the phytoplankton under three culture regimes: nutrient-replete liquid medium, nutrient-poor liquid medium and solid agar medium. We then performed reciprocal transplant assays to test for specific adaptation to elevated CO(2) in these lines. We found no evidence for evolutionary change. We conclude that the physiology of carbon utilization may be conserved in natural freshwater phytoplankton communities experiencing rising atmospheric CO(2) levels, without substantial evolutionary change.

  • References32
  • Citations17


  • References32
  • Citations17


Mentioned in this Paper

Carbon Dioxide
Dark Reactions of Photosynthesis
Transplanted Tissue
Selection, Genetic
Carbon Utilization
Adaptation, Physiological

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