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Potential for adaptive evolution at species range margins: contrasting interactions between red coral populations and their environment in a changing ocean
Ledoux, J.-B.; Aurelle, D.; Bensoussan, N.; Marschal, C.; Féral, J.-P.; Garrabou, J. (2015). Potential for adaptive evolution at species range margins: contrasting interactions between red coral populations and their environment in a changing ocean. Ecol. Evol. 5(6): 1178-1192.
In: Ecology and Evolution. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester. ISSN 2045-7758; e-ISSN 2045-7758, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Common garden; Corallium rubrum; deep refugia hypothesis; marginal populations; phenotypic buffering; potential for local adaptation; reciprocal transplants

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Ledoux, J.-B.
  • Aurelle, D.
  • Bensoussan, N.
  • Marschal, C.
  • Féral, J.-P., more
  • Garrabou, J.

    Studying population‐by‐environment interactions (PEIs) at species range margins offers the opportunity to characterize the responses of populations facing an extreme regime of selection, as expected due to global change. Nevertheless, the importance of these marginal populations as putative reservoirs of adaptive genetic variation has scarcely been considered in conservation biology. This is particularly true in marine ecosystems for which the deep refugia hypothesis proposes that disturbed shallow and marginal populations of a given species can be replenished by mesophotic ones. This hypothesis therefore assumes that identical PEIs exist between populations, neglecting the potential for adaptation at species range margins. Here, we combine reciprocal transplant and common garden experiments with population genetics analyses to decipher the PEIs in the red coral, Corallium rubrum . Our analyses reveal partially contrasting PEIs between shallow and mesophotic populations separated by approximately one hundred meters, suggesting that red coral populations may potentially be locally adapted to their environment. Based on the effective population size and connectivity analyses, we posit that genetic drift may be more important than gene flow in the adaptation of the red coral. We further investigate how adaptive divergence could impact population viability in the context of warming and demonstrate differential phenotypic buffering capacities against thermal stress. Our study questions the relevance of the deep refugia hypothesis and highlights the conservation value of marginal populations as a putative reservoir of adaptive genetic polymorphism.

  • CorMedNet- Distribution and demographic data of habitat-forming invertebrate species from Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages between 1882 and 2019., more

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