Melissa H Pespeni

Melissa H Pespeni
University of Vermont | UVM · Department of Biology

PhD

About

50
Publications
8,715
Reads
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1,614
Citations
Introduction
Evolution, genomics, ecology, global change biology
Additional affiliations
August 2005 - December 2010
Stanford University
Position
  • PhD
October 2002 - September 2005
University of California, San Francisco
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive evolution and phenotypic plasticity will fuel resilience in the geologically unprecedented warming and acidification of the earth’s oceans, however, we have much to learn about the interactions and costs of these mechanisms of resilience. Here, using 20 generations of experimental evolution followed by three generations of reciprocal trans...
Article
Full-text available
Plastic additives are utilized during the production of plastic to modify the attributes and stability of the polymer. As oceanic plastic waste degrades, these additives can leach, and are harmful to global marine ecosystems. Despite the high abundance of additives leached into the marine environment, little is known about their direct impact on ma...
Preprint
Metazoan adaptation to global change will rely on selection of standing genetic variation. Determining the extent to which this variation exists in natural populations, particularly for responses to simultaneous stressors, is therefore essential to make accurate predictions for persistence in future conditions. Here, we identify the genetic variati...
Article
Full-text available
Predicting the response of marine animals to climate change is hampered by a lack of multigenerational studies on evolutionary adaptation, particularly to combined ocean warming and acidification (OWA). We provide evidence for rapid adaptation to OWA in the foundational copepod species, Acartia tonsa, by assessing changes in population fitness on t...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastics (<5 mm) are ubiquitous in the global environment and are increasingly recognized as a biological hazard, particularly in the oceans. Zooplankton, at the base of the marine food web, have been known to consume microplastics, however, we know little about the impacts of microplastics across life history stages and on carbon settling. He...
Preprint
Full-text available
Predicting the response of marine metazoans to climate change is hampered by a lack of studies on evolutionary adaptation, particularly to combined warming and acidification. To test whether the ubiquitous marine copepod Acartia tonsa can adapt to warmer and acidified conditions, we tracked five fitness-relevant life-history traits for 25 generatio...
Article
Colonization of new environments can lead to population bottlenecks and rapid phenotypic evolution that could be due to neutral and selective processes. Exotic populations of the bull‐headed dung beetle (Onthophagus taurus) have differentiated in opposite directions from native beetles in male horn‐to‐body size allometry and female fecundity. Here...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental variation experienced by a species across space and time can promote the maintenance of genetic diversity that may be adaptive in future global change conditions. Selection experiments have shown that purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, populations have adaptive genetic variation for surviving pH conditions at the "edge"...
Preprint
Full-text available
Global conditions are changing at unprecedented rates (1), challenging species resilience (2). Populations can respond to these changes through genetic adaptation and physiological plasticity (3, 4), and it is well accepted that these processes interact (5). However, the relative role plasticity and adaptation play in promoting resilience to global...
Article
Full-text available
Standing genetic variation is important for population persistence in extreme environmental conditions. While some species may have the capacity to adapt to predicted average future global change conditions, the ability to survive extreme events is largely unknown. We used single-generation selection experiments on hundreds of thousands of Strongyl...
Article
Full-text available
The recent outbreak of Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) is one of the largest marine epizootics in history, but the host-associated microbial community changes specific to disease progression have not been characterized. Here, we sampled the microbiomes of ochre sea stars, Pisaster ochraceus, through time as animals stayed healthy or became sick and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Population persistence through increasingly frequent extreme environmental fluctuations will require selection on standing genetic variation. While some species have shown the capacity to adapt to mean future conditions, the ability to survive and potentially adapt to extreme events is unknown. Here we used pooled capture sequencing to test for ada...
Article
The Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) is a foundation species inhabiting estuaries along the North American west coast. In California estuaries, O. lurida is adapted to local salinity regimes and populations differ in low salinity tolerance. In this study, oysters from three California populations were reared for two generations in a laboratory common...
Article
The pan-tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla is an ecologically and economically important shallow water algal grazer. The aquaculture of T. gratilla has spurred growing interest in the population biology of the species, and by extension the generation of more molecular resources. To this purpose, de novo transcriptomes of T. gratilla were gene...
Preprint
Full-text available
The pan-tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla is an ecologically and economically important shallow water algal grazer. The aquaculture of T. gratilla has spurred growing interest in the population biology of the species, and by extension the generation of more molecular resources. To this purpose, de novo transcriptomes of T. gratilla were gene...
Article
Species radiations may be facilitated by phenotypic differentiation already present within populations, such as those arising through sex-specific development or developmental processes biased toward particular reproductive or trophic morphs. We sought to test this hypothesis by utilizing a comparative transcriptomic approach to contrast among and...
Article
Increasing awareness of spatial and temporal variation in ocean pH suggests some marine populations may be adapted to local pH regimes and will therefore respond differently to present-day pH variation and to long-term ocean acidification. In the Northeast Pacific Ocean, differences in the strength of coastal upwelling cause latitudinal variation i...
Data
Figure S1. An example output of DEXSeq for significant gene WHL 22.665129.
Data
Table S1. DEXSeq results table for comparison of differential exon expression between day 1 and day 7.
Data
Data S1. Includes all code used for data analysis.
Article
Full-text available
Standing genetic variation may allow for rapid evolutionary response to the geologically unprecedented changes in global conditions. However, there is little known about the consequences of such rapid evolutionary change. Here, we measure genetic responses to experimental low and high pCO2 levels in purple sea urchin larvae, Strongylocentrotus purp...
Article
Full-text available
With the rapid increase in production of genetic data from new sequencing technologies, a myriad of new ways to study genomic patterns in non-model organisms are currently possible. Because genome assembly still remains a complicated procedure, and because the functional role of much of the genome is unclear, focusing on SNP genotyping from express...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental responses to nutritional variation represent one of the ecologically most important classes of adaptive plasticity. However, knowledge of genome-wide patterns of nutrition-responsive gene expression is limited. Here, we studied genome-wide transcriptional responses to nutritional variation and their dependency on trait and sex in the...
Article
Phenotypic plasticity pervades organismal development and physiology where it facilitates an enormous range of adaptive responses to novel or stressful environments. Plasticity also impacts evolutionary processes, reducing the probability of population extinction in the face of environmental changes and sometimes increasing speciation rates in deve...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the potential for rapid evolution in natural populations in response to the high rate of contemporary climatic change. Organisms that have evolved in environments that experience high variability across space and time are of particular interest as they may harbor genetic variation that can facilitate evolutionary response to c...
Article
Local adaptation reflects a balance between natural selection and gene flow and is classically thought to require the retention of locally adapted alleles. However, organisms with high dispersal potential across a spatially or temporally heterogeneous landscape pose an interesting challenge to this view requiring local selection every generation or...
Article
Across heterogeneous landscapes, populations may have adaptive differences in gene regulation that adjust their physiologies to match local environments. Such differences could have origins in acclimation or in genetically fixed variation between habitats. Here we use common-garden experiments to evaluate differences in gene expression between popu...
Article
Full-text available
Many important questions in developmental biology increasingly interface with related questions in other biological disciplines such as evolutionary biology and ecology. In this article, we review and summarize recent progress in the development of horned beetles and beetle horns as study systems amenable to the integration of a wide range of appro...
Article
Full-text available
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions are driving unprecedented changes in seawater chemistry, resulting in reduced pH and carbonate ion concentrations in the Earth's oceans. This ocean acidification has negative but variable impacts on individual performance in many marine species. However, little is known about the adaptive capacity...
Article
Full-text available
High-throughput sequencing technologies are currently revolutionizing the field of biology and medicine, yet bioinformatic challenges in analysing very large data sets have slowed the adoption of these technologies by the community of population biologists. We introduce the 'Simple Fool's Guide to Population Genomics via RNA-seq' (SFG), a document...
Article
Full-text available
Natural selection can act on all the expressed genes of an individual, leaving signatures of genetic differentiation or diversity at many loci across the genome. New power to assay these genome-wide effects of selection comes from associating multi-locus patterns of polymorphism with gene expression and function. Here, we performed one of the first...
Conference Paper
The ability to analyze population variation at thousands of loci ushers in a new era in which it is possible to search for a small number of genes that may be under selection in a sea of genes affected most strongly by drift and dispersal. For purple sea urchins, an array-based method reveals polymorphism at over 12,000 protein coding loci. The vas...
Data
Table of the top 100 highest FST loci. The table includes five columns of information: gene number (GLEAN3), gene annotation, RSTA array tile name, RSTA array tile oligonucleotide sequence, and FST value.
Article
Full-text available
High-throughput genotype data can be used to identify genes important for local adaptation in wild populations, phenotypes in lab stocks, or disease-related traits in human medicine. Here we advance microarray-based genotyping for population genomics with Restriction Site Tiling Analysis. The approach simultaneously discovers polymorphisms and prov...
Article
Sea breezes often have significant impacts on nearshore physical and biological processes. We document the effects of a diurnal sea breeze on the nearshore thermal structure and circulation of northern Monterey Bay, California, using an array of moorings during the summer upwelling season in 2006. Moorings were equipped with thermistors and Acousti...
Article
Full-text available
Heat stress may enhance the effect of apoptosis-inducing agents in resistant tumor cells. One such agent is the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), which has attracted intense interest for its ability to induce apoptosis in tumors without affecting nonmalignant cells. We therefore tested whether heat stress potentiates...
Article
Full-text available
Lung endothelial damage is a characteristic morphological feature of ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, although the molecular steps involved in the loss of endothelial integrity are still poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that the activation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) cell signaling would be responsible for the increase...
Article
Previous studies have shown that heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) is a danger signal for the immune system and appears to be a key endogenous inflammatory mediator that activates the toll-like receptors and causes the release of proinflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide by immune competent cells, but no data are available for trauma patients. The pur...
Article
Full-text available
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a devastating syndrome characterized by diffuse alveolar damage, elevated airspace levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and flooding of the alveolar spaces with protein-rich edema fluid. Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) is one of the most biologically active cytokines in the distal airspaces of patients with ALI. IL-1beta ha...
Article
The heat shock or stress protein response is a highly conserved defense mechanism. Activation of the stress protein response by mild hyperthermia or by pharmacological agents allows cells to withstand a subsequent metabolic insult that would otherwise be lethal, a phenomenon referred as "thermotolerance" or "preconditioning." Heat shock response is...
Article
Full-text available
Inhibition of cAMP-dependent stimulation of the vectorial fluid transport across the lung epithelium following hemorrhagic shock is mediated by NO released within the airspaces of the lung. We tested here the hypothesis that prior induction of HO-1 would attenuate the release of NO in the airspaces, thus preventing the inhibition of the c-AMP stimu...
Article
Full-text available
Activation of the stress response attenuates proinflammatory responses by suppressing cytokine-stimulated activation of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway. In this study, we show that the activation of the cellular stress response, either by heat shock treatment or after exposure to sodium arsenite, leads to a transient inhibition of IkappaBalpha phos...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
Collaborative Research: Transgenerational phenotypic and genomic responses of marine copepods to the interactive effects of temperature and CO2 Hans G. Dam, Hannes Baumann and Michael Finiguerra, University of Connecticut Melissa Pespeni, University of Vermont PROJECT SUMMARY Overview: This project seeks novel and fundamental knowledge and understanding of the response of copepods to simultaneous conditions of warming and ocean acidification, and the roles of genetic and epigenetic adaptation to thermal and CO2 stress. The main goals of the project are : 1) To test the simultaneous effects of temperature and CO2 under current and future conditions on life history traits, throughout the life cycle, of two keystone copepod species, Acartia tonsa (warm-adapted) and Acartia hudsonica (cold-adapted). 2) To test for adaptive capacity of both copepod species to a warmer and CO2-richer ocean. 3) To measure the genetic and epigenetic changes across multiple generations of experimental selection in future conditions in both copepod species, and to identify the genes and pathways responding to selection. Factorial (2X2) design experiments, which include mean current and projected temperature and CO2 conditions, will determine the respective roles of temperature and CO2 and their combinations on life history traits of both copepod species. Traits to be measured include egg production and hatching, survivorship from egg to adults, development time, and adult size and survival. This information will be used to estimate Darwinian fitness and to determine which stages of the copepod life cycle are most sensitive to individual or simultaneous stress conditions of temperature and CO2. The mechanisms of copepod adaptation will be identified and the role of transgenerational plasticity will be characterized through multigenerational selection experiments (> 10 generations for each species). Changes in allele and epi-allele frequency across the generations will be measured in all four conditions of the factorial design to quantify the relative contributions of genetic and epigenetic change in the evolution of critical physiology and life history traits in response to greenhouse climate conditions. Intellectual Merit: The ocean is predicted to become warmer and CO2-richer (higher pCO2 and lower pH) within a century. These environmental changes are occurring at unprecedented rates, and their consequences on populations of marine organisms are neither fully known nor understood. Hence, the ability to forecast the fate of populations faced with rapid environmental change is severely hampered at the moment, particularly by a paucity of experimental work that considers transgenerational plasticity. This project will determine, for the first time, how two closely related species of copepods (the most abundant animals in the oceans) with different potential for evolutionary thermal adaptation will respond to the interactive effects of warming and acidification, and whether these effects are mitigated by genetic or epigenetic adaptation. The proposed work, which combines measurements of phenotypic, genetic and epigenetic responses to global change conditions across multiple generations, is likely to provide novel insights into adaptation to thermal- and hypercapnia-related stress, and emerging properties that lead to adaptability. Broader Impacts: The outcomes of the work will have societal relevance by meeting one of the priority areas for marine ecosystem management: To gather and synthesize information on how systems are changing and on the drivers of these changes, especially over long time scales. In addition, the outcomes of the project could be used to parameterize the zooplankton component of mechanistic models or bioclimatic envelope models that scale up responses to warming and ocean acidification from organisms to ecosystems.