Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny fish evolved to tolerate colder temperature in three years, study finds

Date:
August 9, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have observed one of the fastest evolutionary responses ever recorded in wild populations. In as little as three years, stickleback fish developed tolerance for water temperature 2.5 degrees Celsius lower than their ancestors.

Marine male (bottom) and female (top) sticklebacks.
Credit: Photo by Rowan Barrett, UBC

University of British Columbia researchers have observed one of the fastest evolutionary responses ever recorded in wild populations. In as little as three years, stickleback fish developed tolerance for water temperature 2.5 degrees Celsius lower than their ancestors.

Related Articles


The study, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provides the some of the first experimental evidence that evolution may help populations survive effects of climate change.

Measuring three to 10 centimetres, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 10,000 years, marine and freshwater sticklebacks have evolved different physical and behavioural traits, making them ideal models for Darwin's natural selection theory.

"By testing the temperature tolerance of wild and lab-raised sticklebacks, we were able to determine that freshwater sticklebacks can tolerate lower temperatures than their marine counterparts," says lead author Rowan Barrett from the UBC Department of Zoology. "This made sense from an evolutionary perspective because their ancestors were able to adapt to freshwater lakes, which typically reach colder temperatures than the ocean."

To learn how quickly this adaptation took place, Barrett and colleagues from Switzerland and Sweden "recreated history" by transplanting marine sticklebacks to freshwater ponds and found that in as little as three generations (or three years), they were able to tolerate the same minimum temperature as freshwater sticklebacks, 2.5 °C lower than their ancestral populations.

"Scientific models have suggested that climate change could result in both a general, gradual increase of average temperatures and an increase in extreme temperatures," says Barrett, who received his PhD last week.

"Our study is the first to experimentally show that certain species in the wild could adapt to climate change very rapidly -- in this case, colder water temperature. However, this rapid adaptation is not achieved without a cost. Only rare individuals that possess the ability to tolerate rapid changes in temperature survive, and the number of survivors may not be large enough to sustain the population. It is crucial that knowledge of evolutionary processes is incorporated into conservation and management policy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rowan D. H. Barrett, Antoine Paccard, Timothy M. Healy, Sara Bergek, Patricia M. Schulte, Dolph Schluter, and Sean M. Rogers. Rapid evolution of cold tolerance in stickleback. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2010; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0923

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Tiny fish evolved to tolerate colder temperature in three years, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100804133446.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, August 9). Tiny fish evolved to tolerate colder temperature in three years, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100804133446.htm
University of British Columbia. "Tiny fish evolved to tolerate colder temperature in three years, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100804133446.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) — Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins