Victoria, British Columbia (UPI) Aug 4, 2010 - Canadian scientists say they've observed one of the fastest evolutionary responses ever while studying a fish species' ability to survive in colder water.
"Our study is the first to experimentally show that certain species in the wild could adapt to very rapidly -- in this case, colder water temperature," study author Rowan Barrett said. "However, this rapid adaptation is not achieved without a cost. Only rare individuals that possess the ability to tolerate rapid changes in temperature survive," he said, "and the number of survivors may not be large enough to sustain the population. "It is crucial that knowledge of evolutionary processes is incorporated into conservation and management policy," Barrett said.