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Understanding the margin squeeze: differentiation in fitness‐related traits between central and trailing edge populations of Corallina officinalis

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Assessing population responses to climate‐related environmental change is key to understanding the adaptive potential of the species as a whole. Coralline algae are critical components of marine shallow water ecosystems where they function as important ecosystem engineers. Populations of the calcifying algae Corallina officinalis from the center (southern UK) and periphery (northern Spain) of the North Atlantic species natural distribution were selected to test for functional differentiation in thermal stress response. Physiological measurements of calcification, photo‐synthesis, respiration, growth rates, oxygen, and calcification evolution curves were performed using closed cell respirometry methods. Species identity was genetically confirmed via DNA barcoding. Through a common garden approach, we identified distinct vulnerability to thermal stress of central and peripheral populations. Southern populations showed a decrease in photosynthetic rate under environmental conditions of central locations, and central populations showed a decline in calcification rates under southern conditions. This shows that the two processes of calcification and photosynthesis are not as tightly coupled as previously assumed. How the species as whole will react to future climatic changes will be determined by the interplay of local environmental conditions and these distinct population adaptive traits
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5787-5801
Number of pages15
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019


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