Role of sex and migration in adaptation to sink environments

Mato Lagator, Andrew Morgan, Paul Neve, Nick Colegrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the effects of sex and migration on adaptation to novel environments remains a key problem in evolutionary biology. Using a single‐cell alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we investigated how sex and migration affected rates of evolutionary rescue in a sink environment, and subsequent changes in fitness following evolutionary rescue. We show that sex and migration affect both the rate of evolutionary rescue and subsequent adaptation. However, their combined effects change as the populations adapt to a sink habitat. Both sex and migration independently increased rates of evolutionary rescue, but the effect of sex on subsequent fitness improvements, following initial rescue, changed with migration, as sex was beneficial in the absence of migration but constraining adaptation when combined with migration. These results suggest that sex and migration are beneficial during the initial stages of adaptation, but can become detrimental as the population adapts to its environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2296-2305
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Evolutionary rescue
  • experimental evolution
  • migration
  • sex
  • source-sink dynamics


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