Abstracts (first author)
Selection in different levels of stress and its effects on fitness across a gradient of environmental conditions
Most environments are variable over time or space, and the populations that are still surviving today have therefore most likely experienced many different environmental conditions. The performance of a population in a novel environment is likely to depend on its own particular selection history if the amplitude and direction of the correlation between the fitness landscapes of the past and novel environments is highly variable along a gradient of environmental conditions. We tested the prediction that adaptation to an intermediate level of stress would enhance performance across a gradient of permissive to stressful conditions by running a selection experiment in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We selected replicated populations for about 40 generations in different levels of stress along an environmental gradient, and then measured their performance in their own as well as in all other levels of stress. We carried the experiment in six different environmental gradients and using three different strains to determine if the particular fitness landscape of the environment and/or the genetic architecture of the strain have an effect on the universality of the results. The results of this experiment will contribute in increasing our understanding of the effects of selection history on performance across a range of possible future environmental conditions.