“Hormosira banksii makes an excellent model for examining the potential for marine organisms to adapt because it is an important intertidal species in Australia and New Zealand, providing habitat for many other species.
“These macroalgae cling to rock platforms and don’t have much ability to disperse, limiting the genetic diversity amongst populations. It was therefore assumed, until now, that they wouldn’t be able to adapt to changes in climate as they can’t move to avoid temperature changes and they are already living close to their thermal tolerances,” she said.
However, the research of Ms Clark and her C3 colleagues showed that temperature tolerance in this habitat-forming species can be passed on to the next generation, meaning they have the potential to adapt to rising temperatures.
New plants may therefore be less sensitive to heat waves during the summer, or high temperature events during other seasons, giving the researchers some optimism that this iconic species will remain prominent on our rocky shores.
Read the entire article here