C3 Seminar: Dr. Emily Howells
Do coral populations carry genetic and epigenetic material to adapt to warming seas?
Adaptation to rapidly warming seas is critical for the persistence of reef-building corals. Despite evidence of contemporary increases in the upper thermal limits of corals, recurrent thermal stress and die-off events continue to deplete global coral cover. This trend implies that many coral populations are adapting too slowly and strategies of ‘assisted evolution’ have been proposed to alleviate extinction risk. However, the variation upon which heat-tolerance selection acts is unknown for most coral populations generating uncertainty in estimates of both natural and assisted evolutionary potential. I will present a series of experiments that evaluate whether coral populations have capacity to adapt to warming via standing genetic and epigenetic variation, assisted gene flow, and stress hardening.
Light refreshments provided after talk - All are welcome!