74.5 Sunday, Jan. 6 Evolutionary adaptations to fluctuating thermal environments in natural populations of Gambusia RENEAU, Paulette C.*; BROUGHTON, Richard E.; University of Oklahoma; University of Oklahoma email@example.com
Temperature influences the rates of all physiological processes and is one of the most important environmental factors affecting the behavior, physiology, and distribution of ectotherms. Gambusia spp. provide a unique opportunity to assess the nature of adaptive variation in thermal tolerance and its relationship to the heat shock response due to their wide distribution and ability to inhabit a wide range of thermal environments. In this study, the expression of heat shock proteins (hsps) were used to evaluate ecologically relevant mechanisms used by organisms to deal with thermal stress. Data obtained from the sequencing of hsp genes and their subsequent gene expression patterns provide valuable insight into how environmental stress impacts the evolutionary and ecological processes that affect and shape the genetic structure and evolution of populations.