The oceans are changing on a global scale and, in some cases, at rates greatly exceeding those observed in the geological record. Climate change and ocean acidification are two key stressors for contemporary zooplankton populations. Research on these topics has focused on ecological responses to this forcing, and very little is known about the evolutionary potential of zooplankton and their capacity to adapt to changing ocean conditions. Theoretical considerations suggest that zooplankton should have very high capacity for evolutionary adaptation due to large population size, high standing genetic diversity, and short generation times. Here we present results from integrated genomic and biogeographic studies on several zooplankton species sampled across basin-scale oceanographic gradients in the Atlantic Ocean, that provide insight into the adaptive potential of marine zooplankton. We discuss the evidence for strong and persistent population genetic structure within species across the Atlantic, a key characteristic enabling local adaptation of populations to distinct oceanographic conditions. Recent ecological and modeling studies illustrate the mechanisms that create dispersal barriers in the open sea for these species. We also present results on phenotypic and genetic variation within cosmopolitan species and their correlation to oceanographic parameters, providing insight into how these species are adapted to contemporary ocean conditions. Finally, we discuss community-wide genetic patterns across the Atlantic, and identify oceanographic features that drive genetic structure across species as well as ocean regions that are important for evolutionary novelty. This talk will illustrate how research in ‘integrative biogeography’, linking genomic, ecological and oceanographic studies, can add a dimension largely missing in global change research and provide insight into the adaptive potential of marine zooplankton.
Erica Goetze is a biological oceanographer and Associate Professor in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received her PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Danish Institute for Fisheries Research before coming to the University of Hawaii in 2008. Her research interests focus on the intersection of genetics, ecology and evolution of marine zooplankton. Currently, she is working on projects in population genomics and biogeography of zooplankton, the development of new molecular tools to study zooplankton population dynamics and community structure, and in using these new tools to study plankton dynamics and food web structure in the coastal ocean. She is also interested in the evolutionary potential of marine zooplankton, and their capacity for adaptive responses to climate change.
Erica Goetze, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Honolulu.