Using connectivity to identify climatic drivers of local adaptation

Macdonald, Stewart L., Llewelyn, John, and Phillips, Ben L. (2018) Using connectivity to identify climatic drivers of local adaptation. Ecology Letters, 21. pp. 207-216.

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Abstract

Understanding the climatic drivers of local adaptation is vital. Such knowledge is not only of theoretical interest but is critical to inform management actions under climate change, such as assisted translocation and targeted gene flow. Unfortunately, there are a vast number of potential trait–environment combinations, and simple relationships between trait and environment are ambiguous: representing either plastic or evolved variation. Here, we show that by incorporating connectivity as an index of gene flow, we can differentiate trait–environment relationships reflecting genetic variation vs. phenotypic plasticity. In this way, we rapidly shorten the list of trait–environment combinations that are of significance. Our analysis of an existing data set on geographic variation in a tropical lizard shows that we can effectively rank climatic variables by the strength of their role in local adaptation. The promise of our method is a rapid and general approach to identifying the environmental drivers of local adaptation.

Item ID: 52728
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-0248
Keywords: climate; connectivity; local adaptation; targeted gene flow
Funders: Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP130100318, ARC FT 160100198
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2018 03:05
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 100%
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