pp 1-27 | Cite as

Clinal Adaptation in the Marine Environment

  • David I. DayanEmail author
Part of the Population Genomics book series


Biologists hoping to understand the population genetics and evolution of marine organisms face a common challenge. Clear boundaries that define populations, shape gene flow, and drive natural selection are not apparent when looking across a featureless seascape. Instead, many marine species are broadly and continuously distributed across gradients in environmental variables such as pH, temperature, and salinity. Clinal adaptation to these environmental gradients is rampant among marine species and occurs across a broad range of demographic contexts. This chapter describes how the recent application of population genomics tools is beginning to reveal the genetic basis of clinal adaptation to environmental gradients in the sea. First, the chapter outlines the demographic and alternative selective scenarios that produce clinal variation in allele frequency and may result in spurious identification of adaptive genetic variants. Once these pitfalls are considered, the chapter briefly overviews population genomic techniques for identifying adaptive variants. Then, relevant and recent empirical studies are reviewed to draw generalizations about the genetic basis of clinal adaptation in the marine environment. Finally, future directions for the field are outlined, emphasizing an increased integration of the phenotype and genetic architecture in analyses of clinal adaptation and highlighting the potential of new tools such as machine learning and polygenic analysis.


Clinal adaptation Clines Environmental association analysis Environmental gradients Genome-wide scans for selection Local adaptation Outlier analysis Population genomics 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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