The January Special issue of Evolutionary Applications edited by guest editors Juha Merilä and Andrew Hendry, reviews the available literature that studies the responses to climate change in a large variety of taxa, including terrestrial and aquatic phytoplankton, plants and invertebrates, as well as all classes of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals. Clearly this Special Issue is the most updated and exhaustive coverage on this crucial topic. The cover image features a collage highlighting some of the species that have been the subject of focus in this issue for their response to climate change. The Editor-in-Chief Louis Bernatchez has highlighted the following Special Issue articles as of particular interest:
Climate change, adaptation, and phenotypic plasticity: the problem and the evidence
by Juha Merilä and Andrew P. Hendry
Summary: This perspective article examines the levels of inference employed in studies where recorded phenotypic changes in natural populations have been attributed to climate change. Based on the reviews from this Special Issue, Merilä and Hendry conclude that evidence for genetic adaptation to climate change has been found in some systems, but remains relatively scarce compared to evidence for phenotypic plasticity. It is apparent that additional studies employing better inferential methods are required before drawing further conclusions.
Rapid evolution of quantitative traits: theoretical perspectives by Michael Kopp and Sebastian Matuszewski
Summary: In this review and syntheses article the authors review the theoretical models of rapid evolution in quantitative traits, to shed light on the potential for adaptation to climate change. In particular, the authors demonstrate how survival can be greatly facilitated by phenotypic plasticity, and how heritable variation in plasticity can further speed up genetic evolution.
Climate warming and Bergmann’s rule through time: is there any evidence? by Celine Teplitsky and Virginie Millien
Summary: In this article the authors investigate the hypothesis that the climate warming causes a reduction in body size. This hypothesis originates from Bergmann’s rule, whereby species in warmer climates exhibit a smaller body size when compared to endotherms found in colder climates. Reviewing the literature the authors find weak evidence for changes in body size through time as predicted by Bergmann’s rule.
We do hope you enjoy reading this month’s Special Issue, and encourage you to submit papers applying concepts from evolutionary biology to address biological questions of health, social and economic relevance across a vast array of applied disciplines. We also welcome submissions of papers making use of modern genomics or other molecular methods to address important questions in an applied evolutionary framework. For more information please visit the aims and scopes page.
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