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Eco-Evo-Devo and Adaptation in Variable Environments

Authors:
  • iEES Paris; Institiute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences Paris
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The study of adaptation to climate change requires that we determine what the process of adaptation would converge to, and how far biological systems are removed from these adapted states at any instance. Adapted states can be polymorphic. The phenotypic variability they contain can be constructed by various processes and be assigned to different variance components such as genetic variation, phenotypic plasticity and other effects. With my collaborators and students, I have contributed to the general understanding of factors that selectively favour one process of trait determination over another in adaptive polymorphisms. Individuals are constructed during embryonic development, but this process encompassing any embryonic trait determination is often not considered in adaptation to ecological challenges and in the generation of variability. With students and collaborators, I have prepared a multi-species system of Austrolebias annual killifish where embryos can diapause in the soil to study adaptation including the adaptation of embryonic development. This study will require a life history model of these fish to generate predictions. We have collected data to parameterize such a model in several related species, of which we predicted the phylogenetic relationships. The challenge now is the construction of the model, and developing the equipment and tools to study selection and adaptation of embryonic development in lab and field conditions. This will be the subject of my research and the projects I will supervise in the coming years.
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