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Keywords:

  • adaptive responses;
  • experimental evolution;
  • global warming;
  • life history;
  • life table experiment;
  • mesocosm experiment;
  • microevolution;
  • rapid evolution;
  • Simocephalus;
  • temperature

Abstract

Although several studies suggest the occurrence of microevolutionary responses that may allow local persistence of populations under global warming, rigorous experimental proof is lacking. Here, we combined the realism and rigid, replicated experimental design of a large-scale mesocosm study where populations of the zooplankter Simocephalus vetulus were exposed for 1 year to different global warming scenarios with a life table experiment under laboratory conditions at three temperatures that eliminated confounding, nongenetic factors. Our results provide solid proof for a rapid microevolutionary response to global warming in both survival and the subcomponents of individual performance (age at reproduction and number of offspring), which may allow populations of S. vetulus to persist locally under predicted scenarios of global warming. Such microevolutionary responses may buffer changes in community structure under global warming and help explain the outcome of previous mesocosm studies finding only marginal effects of global warming at the community level.