Surviving uncertainty: Biodiversity, adaptation, and environmental fluctuation in rotifers


Abstract


Studying evolution in the face of environmental uncertainty is crucial to understand biological diversity, because diversifying life strategies is key to survival and reproduction in uncertain environments. Rotifers are planktonic microinvertebrates that live in inland water bodies. Their complex life cycle combines sexual and asexual reproduction and, together with their small size and short generation times, makes them excellent model organisms in evolutionary ecology studies. Here we present field population and laboratory experimental evolution studies which show that these organisms can adapt by locally diversifying their life cycle to face unpredictable fluctuations in their environment.


Keywords


plankton; rotifers; complex life cycles; temporal environments; environmental unpredictability

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