Evolution Letters launches its first Special Issue with contributions from EEB researchers

Allan Edelsparre, a PDF in the Sokolowski Lab has co-edited the latest volume of Evolution Letters on Evolutionary Adaptation to Climate Change.

What are the major factors driving evolutionary adaptation to climate change? How can we harness this understanding to better predict how populations can adapt to a rapidly changing climate? The urgency of answering these questions is critical as more than a million species are currently directly facing the risk of extinction due to climate-driven environmental change. This puts research exploring processes and mechanisms that affect evolutionary rescue at the core of mounting a global response to the current climate crisis. Here, we highlight key contributions that collectively demonstrate the breadth of evolutionary responses that organisms exhibit in response to climate change, including classic responses (e.g., range shifts, plasticity, and evolutionary responses), but also less conspicuous phenomena such as social and sexual conflicts. Some contributions go right to the heart of understanding the genetic and epigenetic bases of the observed responses, ultimately linking the environmental effects to the genotype–phenotype map. Other contributions investigate the interplay between different types of selection with climate-driven selection in facilitating or hindering evolutionary adaptation, a major uncertainty that has been the focus of evolutionary research for a long time. These are pressing issues that require a deep understanding of processes that determine our ability to predict evolutionary outcomes of ongoing climate change. The final contribution of the Special Issue therefore explores the limits and opportunities for predicting adaptive responses to climate change. It builds on all the contributions of the Special Issue, and the viewpoints of many of their authors, to provide a road map for how we might be able to improve predictions with our current knowledge and what might be possible to predict in the future. We anticipate that this Special Issue will ignite investigations of how the effects of climate change unfold from phenotypes to genotypes and the selective forces that produce evolutionary rescue in response to climate change.

Evolutionary adaptation to climate change

Evolution Letters, Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2024,