What is it about?

We analysed the shell morphology of two species of planktonic Foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sapropel S5. At the time, the communieties were exposed to lethal stress levels, which led to local extinctions of the species. We find that both species react distinctively to that stress, but with different evolutionary patterns. The terminally stressed populations are clearly distinct from the unstressed populations.

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Why is it important?

The work helps to understand how evolution and adaptive evolution works already on the protist level. It thus improves our knowledge of evolution in the protist world, which is scarce at the moment.

Perspectives

Future developments in the field can help to improve our understanding of the adaptability of protists to environmental stress. In the presence of global environmental change, this is necessary to unserstand the impact of man-mad climate change on one of the most important primary food networks in the world.

Dr Manuel F. G. Weinkauf
Universite de Geneve

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This page is a summary of: Disruptive selection and bet-hedging in planktonic Foraminifera: shell morphology as predictor of extinctions, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, October 2014, Frontiers, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00064.
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