Well, at least the daphnia will survive 'climate change'

There’s lots of worries about “species extinction” due to climate change, and so far the track record on those predictions isn’t doing so good, such as the First animal claimed extinct due to ‘climate change’ found ‘alive and well’.

From KU Leuven

Water fleas genetically adapt to climate change

daphnia

The water flea Daphnia genetically adapts to climate change. Credit Hajime Watanabe

The water flea has genetically adapted to climate change. Biologists from KU Leuven, Belgium, compared ‘resurrected’ water fleas — hatched from 40-year-old eggs — with more recent specimens. The project was coordinated by Professor Luc De Meester from the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation.

The water flea has genetically adapted to climate change. Biologists from KU Leuven, Belgium, compared ‘resurrected’ water fleas – hatched from forty-year-old eggs – with more recent specimens. The project was coordinated by Professor Luc De Meester from the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation.

The water flea Daphnia is a zooplankton organism that is typically found in shallow ponds and lakes. Under normal circumstances, water fleas reproduce asexually: they clone themselves. But in difficult living conditions – during food shortages or heat waves, for instance – they switch to a different type of procreation: they mate and lay dormant eggs. These eggs are in fact encapsulated embryos that are resistant to harsh conditions. A dormant egg can remain in the sediment of a pond for dozens of years and still be able to hatch.

As the dormant eggs remain viable for a long time researchers can use resurrection ecology to examine the evolution of water fleas in a changing climate. Biologist Aurora Geerts explains: “When water fleas reproduce asexually, their offspring is genetically identical to the mother. But when they mate, this results in genetic variation. The genetically fittest water fleas – the ones that are best adapted to the environment – survive and lay dormant eggs. When we hatch the dormant eggs of water fleas from the past and compare them with the contemporary population, we can reconstruct the evolutionary changes that occurred in that population and examine how they have adapted to the rising temperature of the water in which they live.”

The biologists used dormant eggs from Felbrigg Hall, a shallow lake in England: “Both the water flea population and the changes in temperature of that lake are well-documented. Over a period of forty years the average temperature near Felbrigg Hall has risen with 1.15 degrees Celsius. In addition, the number of heat waves has tripled. This causes stress to animals that live in such shallow water. From a Felbrigg Hall sediment core we selected dormant eggs from sediment layers matching the period 1955-1965 and a more recent layer from 1995-2005. We collected eggs from both time periods and hatched them. Then we examined the heat tolerance of the resulting populations from these two time periods by scoring the temperature at which the water fleas lost motor function and fainted. The critical maximum temperature for activity for the water fleas from the recent sediment layer is half a degree more than 40 years ago.”

In another experiment, the biologists examined whether current populations of the water flea Daphnia can genetically adapt to higher temperatures. “Over the course of two years we exposed a population of water fleas to two temperature treatments: ambient temperature and ambient +4°C. From the sediment of experimental units of both treatment groups we hatched dormant eggs. We then measured the heat tolerance of the water fleas under standardized laboratory conditions. For the water fleas that had been exposed to a heated environment the critical temperature for activity was on average 3.6 degrees higher than for water fleas from the control group.”

The findings indicate that water flea populations can adapt quite rapidly to rising temperatures. The study is the first to show that animal populations can adapt and already have adapted to higher temperatures and increased heat wave frequencies – two results of climate change – by means of evolutionary changes in their heat tolerance.

The capacity for genetic adaption is, however, not enough to guarantee success, Geerts adds: “Climate change may have an impact on other factors as well. The water flea might be exposed to more enemies, less food, or an increased sensitivity to parasites. But our results show that we need to take into account the evolutionary dynamics of a species if we want to predict how it will respond to climate change.”

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36 thoughts on “Well, at least the daphnia will survive 'climate change'

  1. And who would WANT to live in a world without water fleas? 😉
    Seriously, they found a half degree C difference in their heat tolerance. What were the error bars on that? Who ever swallows this paper could swallow a camel yet strain at a … well, gnat.

    • I’m pretty certain higher temps lead to increased local biological diversity almost everywhere, but it is considered not PC to say it aloud.

  2. Oh Thank God! I was so worried about the water fleas, wondering if my children and grandchildren would ever experience a water flea.

    • I think there is a flea and fly crunchy appetizer, but the water flea didn’t make to the menu because it was known to be extinct.

      • There are far more then 100 spieces of water fleas, living in different enviroments around the world. We even have them here far up north in Sweden.

  3. How, exactly, do these water fleas know the difference between climate change and a few unusually hot years?
    It seems strange, particularly when one considers that the variability between one year and another is naturally far greater than any warming due to climate change.
    And what is the difference in the temperature of a given lake and another similar lake 100 or 200 miles farther south?
    These organisms exist in nearly every freshwater body on the earth, and are known to tolerate an enormous range of temperatures, and even a huge difference in one day.

    • menicholas,
      I wondered about that, too. Water fleas can tolerate a 50º day/night change… but they can’t adapt to a 0.7ºC change, over a century and a half?
      This is how ridiculous the man-made global warming scare has become.

      • This is an interesting paper. They embarked on a study to find how climate change affected water fleas. Unlike so many studies of other species, it found no adverse effect. So they reported that, and then wrecked the entire paper (and revealed their bias) by throwing in at the end of the paper some pure speculation to try to make climate change sound bad.
        Even worse is the possibility that the researchers were forced to add the speculation in order to be published. Some science has sunk to an appallingly low level.

    • Exactly. The casual assumption/assertion that the rise in water temp was due to climate change is the stink in the tale of the paper, and the real point of publishing it.

  4. Interesting. With water fleas, hot water results in sex. With humans it is often the opposite: Sex winds you up in hot water.
    Oh, life is as it ought ta be
    When you live like a water flea!
    Sorry about that. It is spring, and spring always brings out the romantic poet in me.

  5. I would say humans are the most fortunate and we can influence our faith, but the animals have to adapt or they will have no other way. At least, it seems to be all right in the case of these species.

  6. I suspect that this study shows how well the temperature adapts to climate change. Ie after the historical ( or is it hysterical) adjustments that global Bureaus of Meteorologies make maybe these fleas didn’t quite have to adapt as much as they thought. I think these fleas might actually have life cycles based on unadjusted data.

  7. I was going to offer something about adding some toxic industrial nuclear waist and teenage mutant ninja …Sea Monkeys.
    But I decided not to.

  8. I love Daphnia, introduced them to my natural swimming pond just after building it. The water went from 1cm visibility (a deep green) to 3m visibility in two weeks, They are close to the base of the food chain. Brilliant animals. Free swimming crustaceans to boot, don’t see too many of those apart from Nautilus.

  9. So the headline should be “Climate Change boosts sex life of water fleas”, while the substance of the story goes from “water fleas extinct due to climate change” to “water fleas fine and having more fun than evah”…
    How much more wrong could the alarmists be?

  10. The extinction game, yet another unfortunate tumour on the posterior of climate science; apparently the background rate of species extinction is “higher then ever before” and you guessed it, must be due to human caused climate change. And if you find one species that goes extinct,voila, proof!
    You will believe this nonsense only if you ignore that we do not know past and present total number of species, total number of extinctions, total number of non-extinctions, and that extinction rates are not constant. Other than that sure there is no reason why we cannot accurately calculate humanity influenced extinction rates.
    Sigh…

    • See essay No Bodies. Most of the information you seek is already in it. Plus how AR4 was deliberately deceptive, and how the one studymit relied on was (intentionally) biased.

  11. Where are the outraged green idiots?
    Slowly cooking innocent innocuous water fleas till they faint sure doesn’t sound like ‘no water fleas were harmed during this mistreatment’.
    Nor are there any mentions about the rates of heating the water,
    or controls,
    or how they knew the ‘dormant’ fleas were truly forty years old.

  12. The take-away message from this study is that if you want a bit of action, hope for a heat-wave.

  13. I guess verifying a well known fact is science, but these guys believing that they discovered something new, is ridiculous. A population of organisms drifting through the range of its natural variability in response to the normal changes in its environment is not evolution. The evolution already happened, that being the acquisition of the ability of the population to adapt to a changing environment. Most organisms that are found in ephemeral waters have similar characteristics. You want to be amazed, check out annual killifish! BTW, I used to collect daphnia in desert water holes.

  14. The study probably had nothing to do with climate change. However they threw in climate change so they could get the money.

  15. Year ago the warmists were on about the Coelacanth being endangered due to global warming/climate change\climate disruption.
    You know, the fish that has somehow survived a much hotter (and much, much colder) planet in its 300 million year history…

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