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Temperature is a poor proxy for synergistic climate forcing of plankton evolution

Temperature is a poor proxy for synergistic climate forcing of plankton evolution
Temperature is a poor proxy for synergistic climate forcing of plankton evolution
Changes in biodiversity at all levels from molecules to ecosystems are often linked to climate change, which is widely represented univariately by temperature. A global environmental driving mechanism of biodiversity dynamics is thus implied by the strong correlation between temperature proxies and diversity patterns in a wide variety of fauna and flora. Yet climate consists of many interacting variables. Species probably respond to the entire climate system as opposed to its individual facets. Here, we examine ecological and morphological traits of 12 633 individuals of two species of planktonic foraminifera with similar ecologies but contrasting evolutionary outcomes. Our results show that morphological and ecological changes are correlated to the interactions between multiple environmental factors. Models including interactions between climate variables explain at least twice as much variation in size, shape and abundance changes as models assuming that climate parameters operate independently. No dominant climatic driver can be identified: temperature alone explains remarkably little variation through our highly resolved temporal sequences, implying that a multivariate approach is required to understand evolutionary response to abiotic forcing. Our results caution against the use of a ‘silver bullet’ environmental parameter to represent global climate while studying evolutionary responses to abiotic change, and show that more comprehensive reconstruction of palaeobiological dynamics requires multiple biotic and abiotic dimensions.
0962-8452
Brombacher, Anieke
2a4bbb84-4743-4a36-973b-4ad2bf743154
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Bailey, Ian
e659068f-e591-4185-afd1-5e19a5794bda
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Brombacher, Anieke
2a4bbb84-4743-4a36-973b-4ad2bf743154
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Bailey, Ian
e659068f-e591-4185-afd1-5e19a5794bda
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374

Brombacher, Anieke, Wilson, Paul A., Bailey, Ian and Ezard, Thomas H. G. (2018) Temperature is a poor proxy for synergistic climate forcing of plankton evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 285 (1883). (doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.0665).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Changes in biodiversity at all levels from molecules to ecosystems are often linked to climate change, which is widely represented univariately by temperature. A global environmental driving mechanism of biodiversity dynamics is thus implied by the strong correlation between temperature proxies and diversity patterns in a wide variety of fauna and flora. Yet climate consists of many interacting variables. Species probably respond to the entire climate system as opposed to its individual facets. Here, we examine ecological and morphological traits of 12 633 individuals of two species of planktonic foraminifera with similar ecologies but contrasting evolutionary outcomes. Our results show that morphological and ecological changes are correlated to the interactions between multiple environmental factors. Models including interactions between climate variables explain at least twice as much variation in size, shape and abundance changes as models assuming that climate parameters operate independently. No dominant climatic driver can be identified: temperature alone explains remarkably little variation through our highly resolved temporal sequences, implying that a multivariate approach is required to understand evolutionary response to abiotic forcing. Our results caution against the use of a ‘silver bullet’ environmental parameter to represent global climate while studying evolutionary responses to abiotic change, and show that more comprehensive reconstruction of palaeobiological dynamics requires multiple biotic and abiotic dimensions.

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Accepted/In Press date: 25 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 July 2018
Published date: 25 July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 422830
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422830
ISSN: 0962-8452
PURE UUID: 389aa490-6533-4bba-b092-a58c7930b87d
ORCID for Thomas H. G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

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Date deposited: 06 Aug 2018 16:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:34

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