The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: The genomics of adaptation and its consequences for marine biological invasions

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The transportation of species outside their native range forces locally-adapted genotypes to quickly adapt to new environmental conditions. Consequently, an understanding of the genetics features allowing adaptation is pertinent when one attempts to understand and predict future biological invasions. The proposed research will use population genomics to identify genes or genomic regions that underlie local adaptation and are therefore prime targets for adaptive evolution during biological invasions. In addition, controlled laboratory experiments replicating real-world abiotic conditions will be conducted to evaluate performance of differentially adapted genotypes.

Project Overview

The movement of marine species outside their natural ranges due to intentional and unintentional human-mediated transport (e.g. shipping, aquaculture) has resulted in an unprecedented form of global change. Such transportation of species forces locally-adapted genotypes to quickly adapt to new environmental conditions. Consequently, an understanding of the genetics of population adaptation is pertinent when one is attempting to understand and predict future marine biological invasions.

The increasing use of next generation sequencing (NGS) has allowed for the widespread application of genomic information to basic and applied biological questions, including those relevant to biological invasions such as phenotypic evolution, adaptation and population genomics. The proposed research will analyse populations of an ascidian species adapted to a range of abiotic conditions. Population genomics will be used to identify genes or genomic regions that underlie local adaptation and are therefore prime targets for adaptive evolution during biological invasions. In addition, controlled laboratory experiments replicating real-world abiotic conditions will be conducted to evaluate performance of differentially adapted genotypes.

This project has been funded by SPITFIRE

Associated research themes

Ecology and Evolution Lab

Mark Chapman's Lab

Related research groups

Marine Biology and Ecology

Staff

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