Assessing the potential of marine organisms to adapt genetically to increasing oceanic CO2 levels requires proxies such as heritability of fitness-related traits under ocean acidification (OA). We applied a quantitative genetic method to derive the first heritability estimate of survival under elevated CO2 conditions in a metazoan. Specifically, we reared offspring, selected from a wild coastal fish population (Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia), at high CO2 conditions (~2,300 μatm) from fertilization to 15 days post hatch, which significantly reduced survival compared to controls. Perished and surviving offspring were quantitatively sampled and genotyped along with their parents, using 8 polymorphic microsatellite loci, to reconstruct a parent-offspring pedigree and estimate variance components. Genetically related individuals were phenotypically more similar (i.e., survived similarly long at elevated CO2 conditions) than unrelated individuals, which translated into a significantly non-zero heritability (0.20 ± 0.07). The contribution of maternal effects was surprisingly small (0.05 ± 0.04) and non-significant. Survival among replicates was positively correlated with genetic diversity, particularly with observed heterozygosity. We conclude that early life survival of M. menidia under high CO2 levels has a significant additive genetic component that could elicit an evolutionary response to OA, depending on the strength and direction of future selection.
|Date made available||2015|
|Publisher||Dryad Digital Repository|