University of Oulu

Waldvogel, A.‐M., Feldmeyer, B., Rolshausen, G., Exposito‐Alonso, M., Rellstab, C., Kofler, R., Mock, T., Schmid, K., Schmitt, I., Bataillon, T., Savolainen, O., Bergland, A., Flatt, T., Guillaume, F. and Pfenninger, M. (2020), Evolutionary genomics can improve prediction of species’ responses to climate change. Evolution Letters, 4: 4-18.

Evolutionary genomics can improve prediction of species’ responses to climate change

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Author: Waldvogel, Ann‐Marie1; Feldmeyer, Barbara1; Rolshausen, Gregor1;
Organizations: 1Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California
3Swiss Federal Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
4Institute of Population Genetics, Vetmeduni Vienna, Austria
5School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
6Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population Genetics, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
7Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe‐University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
8LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE‐TBG), Frankfurt am Main, Germany
9Bioinformatics Research Center, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
10Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Finland
11Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
12Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
13Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
14Institute for Organismic and Molecular Evolution, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-10


Global climate change (GCC) increasingly threatens biodiversity through the loss of species, and the transformation of entire ecosystems. Many species are challenged by the pace of GCC because they might not be able to respond fast enough to changing biotic and abiotic conditions. Species can respond either by shifting their range, or by persisting in their local habitat. If populations persist, they can tolerate climatic changes through phenotypic plasticity, or genetically adapt to changing conditions depending on their genetic variability and census population size to allow for de novo mutations. Otherwise, populations will experience demographic collapses and species may go extinct. Current approaches to predicting species responses to GCC begin to combine ecological and evolutionary information for species distribution modelling. Including an evolutionary dimension will substantially improve species distribution projections which have not accounted for key processes such as dispersal, adaptive genetic change, demography, or species interactions. However, eco‐evolutionary models require new data and methods for the estimation of a species’ adaptive potential, which have so far only been available for a small number of model species. To represent global biodiversity, we need to devise large‐scale data collection strategies to define the ecology and evolutionary potential of a broad range of species, especially of keystone species of ecosystems. We also need standardized and replicable modelling approaches that integrate these new data to account for eco‐evolutionary processes when predicting the impact of GCC on species’ survival. Here, we discuss different genomic approaches that can be used to investigate and predict species responses to GCC. This can serve as guidance for researchers looking for the appropriate experimental setup for their particular system. We furthermore highlight future directions for moving forward in the field and allocating available resources more effectively, to implement mitigation measures before species go extinct and ecosystems lose important functions.

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Series: Evolution letters
ISSN: 2056-3744
ISSN-E: 2056-3744
ISSN-L: 2056-3744
Volume: 4
Issue: 1
Pages: 4 - 18
DOI: 10.1002/evl3.154
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Copyright information: © 2019 The Authors. Evolution Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) and European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.