How does evolution affect extinction and species range dynamics in the context of global change? Implications for ecological forecasting
The analysis and forecasting of the impact of global change on biodiversity do not currently incorporate the effect of evolutionary changes in populations and species affected by such environmental and biotic new conditions. In particular, predictions for changes in species distributions mediated by climate change often rely on the assumption that the species climatic niches are conserved at the time scale at which the ecological modification occurs. There is however growing evidence for rapid adaptive evolution in response to climate change. However, the consequences for population viability and extinction risk remain poorly understood. Our aim is to improve our understanding of the role of evolutionary mechanisms in the response of species to global change and of how these mechanisms may affect patterns of biodiversity.
Our objectives are: (i) to produce new theoretical developments to better integrate feedbacks between ecology and evolution in the context of global change, (ii) to use these theoretical tools to predict when it is most fruitful to integrate evolution in ecological forecasts, and how predictions deviate from forecasts ignoring these effects (for instance when evolution will mitigate or aggravate the consequences of global change), (iii) in parallel, to extend our evaluation of the extent of niche conservatism by conducting comparative analyses in several new groups of plants and vertebrates, (iv) to use these comparative analyses to identify indicators (e.g. life history traits) associated with different levels of evolutionary lability in ecological niche dimensions, (v) to validate model predictions and assumptions using, at different levels, experimental evolution, comparative analyses and experiments in natural conditions.
To achieve these goals, we have gathered a consortium with strong expertise in population genetics, adaptive dynamics, experimental evolution, ecology, phylogeny, mathematics, and computer science. Our project is articulated around 3 broad questions: A): Evaluating the likelihood of evolutionary rescue in a single declining population confronted to environmental change, B): Understanding better the complex interactions between migration and adaptation in the response to global change. C): Searching for indicators of niche conservatism through comparative phylogenetic analyses.
This web-site is meant to share resources (reports, meeting minutes, manuscripts, programs) for participants to the project, and inform about relevant events.