Moving beyond heritability in the search for coral adaptive potential

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 2 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Thomas J Richards, Katrina McGuigan, J David Aguirre, Adriana Humanes, Yves-Marie Bozec, Peter J Mumby, Cynthia Riginos 


Global environmental change is happening at unprecedented rates. Coral reefs are among the ecosystems most threatened by global change. For wild populations to persist, they must adapt. Knowledge shortfalls about corals’ complex ecological and evolutionary dynamics, however, stymie predictions about potential adaptation to future conditions. Here, we review adaptation through the lens of quantitative genetics. We argue that coral adaptation studies can benefit greatly from “wild” quantitative genetic methods, where traits are studied in wild populations undergoing natural selection, genomic relationship matrices can replace breeding experiments, and analyses can be extended to examine genetic constraints among traits. Individuals with advantageous genotypes for anticipated future conditions can be identified. Finally, genomic genotyping supports simultaneous consideration of how genetic diversity is arrayed across geographic and environmental distances, providing greater context for predictions of phenotypic evolution at a metapopulation scale.



Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


adaptation, bleaching, coral, genetic constraint, genomic relationship matrix, quantitative genetics, thermal tolerance


Published: 2023-01-17 16:21

Last Updated: 2023-04-03 16:14

Older Versions

CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Not applicable