Cost of Tolerance: Physiological Consequences of Evolved Resistance to Inhabit a Polluted Environment in Teleost Fish Fundulus heteroclitus.
Anthropogenic stressors, including pollutants, are key evolutionary drivers. It is hypothesized that rapid evolution to anthropogenic changes may alter fundamental physiological processes (e.g., energy metabolism), compromising an organism's capacity to respond to additional stressors. The Elizabeth River (ER) Superfund site represents a "natural-experiment" to explore this hypothesis in several subpopulations of Atlantic killifish that have evolved a gradation of resistance to a ubiquitous pollutant-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). We examined bioenergetic shifts and associated consequences in PAH-resistant killifish by integrating genomic, physiological, and modeling approaches. Population genomics data revealed that genomic regions encoding bioenergetic processes are under selection in PAH-adapted fish from the most contaminated ER site and ex vivo studies confirmed altered mitochondrial function in these fish. Further analyses extending to differentially PAH-resistant subpopulations showed organismal level bioenergetic shifts in ER fish that are associated with increased cost of living, decreased performance, and altered metabolic response to temperature stress-an indication of reduced thermal plasticity. A movement model predicted a higher energetic cost for PAH-resistant subpopulations when seeking an optimum habitat. Collectively, we demonstrate that pollution adaption and inhabiting contaminated environments may result in physiological shifts leading to compromised organismal capacity to respond to additional stressors.
Jayasundara, N; Fernando, PW; Osterberg, JS; Cammen, KM; Schultz, TF; Di Giulio, RT
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