The adaptive potential of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus under multifactorial environmental change
Multiple global and local stressors threaten populations of the bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae). Baltic F. vesiculosus populations presumably have a lower genetic diversity compared to other populations. I investigated the adaptive potential under multifactorial environmental change in F. vesiculosus germlings. Effects of warming and acidification were crossed during one year at the two levels “present” and “future” (according to the year 2110) at the “Kiel Outdoor Benthocosms” by applying delta-treatments. Effects of warming varied with season while acidification showed generally weak effects. The two factors “ocean acidification and warming” (OAW) and nutrients were crossed showing that nutrient enrichment mitigated heat stress. Germlings previously treated under the OAW x nutrient experiment were subsequently exposed to a simulated hypoxic upwelling. Sensitivity to hypoxia was enhanced by the previous OAW conditions. Difference in the performance of genetically different sibling groups and diversity level were observed indicating an increased adaptive potential at higher genetic diversity. Different sibling groups were analysed under multiple factors to test correlations of genotypic sensitivities. Sensitivity towards warming, acidification and nutrient enrichment correlated positively while sensitivities towards OAW and hypoxia showed a negative correlation demonstrating that genotypes previously selected under OAW are sensitive to hypoxic upwelling. In a literature review, responses of marine organisms to climate change were analysed through different levels of biological organisation showing that climate change has different effects on each single level of biological organisation. This study highlights that global change research requires an upscaling approach with regard to multiple factors, seasons, natural fluctuations, different developmental stages and levels of biological organisation in the light of the adaptive potential.