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      Evolutionary and plastic responses to climate change in terrestrial plant populations.

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          Abstract

          As climate change progresses, we are observing widespread changes in phenotypes in many plant populations. Whether these phenotypic changes are directly caused by climate change, and whether they result from phenotypic plasticity or evolution, are active areas of investigation. Here, we review terrestrial plant studies addressing these questions. Plastic and evolutionary responses to climate change are clearly occurring. Of the 38 studies that met our criteria for inclusion, all found plastic or evolutionary responses, with 26 studies showing both. These responses, however, may be insufficient to keep pace with climate change, as indicated by eight of 12 studies that examined this directly. There is also mixed evidence for whether evolutionary responses are adaptive, and whether they are directly caused by contemporary climatic changes. We discuss factors that will likely influence the extent of plastic and evolutionary responses, including patterns of environmental changes, species' life history characteristics including generation time and breeding system, and degree and direction of gene flow. Future studies with standardized methodologies, especially those that use direct approaches assessing responses to climate change over time, and sharing of data through public databases, will facilitate better predictions of the capacity for plant populations to respond to rapid climate change.

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          Most cited references137

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          Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change

          Ecological changes in the phenology and distribution of plants and animals are occurring in all well-studied marine, freshwater, and terrestrial groups. These observed changes are heavily biased in the directions predicted from global warming and have been linked to local or regional climate change through correlations between climate and biological variation, field and laboratory experiments, and physiological research. Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change. Tropical coral reefs and amphibians have been most negatively affected. Predator-prey and plant-insect interactions have been disrupted when interacting species have responded differently to warming. Evolutionary adaptations to warmer conditions have occurred in the interiors of species' ranges, and resource use and dispersal have evolved rapidly at expanding range margins. Observed genetic shifts modulate local effects of climate change, but there is little evidence that they will mitigate negative effects at the species level.
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            Plant phenotypic plasticity in a changing climate.

            Climate change is altering the availability of resources and the conditions that are crucial to plant performance. One way plants will respond to these changes is through environmentally induced shifts in phenotype (phenotypic plasticity). Understanding plastic responses is crucial for predicting and managing the effects of climate change on native species as well as crop plants. Here, we provide a toolbox with definitions of key theoretical elements and a synthesis of the current understanding of the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying plasticity relevant to climate change. By bringing ecological, evolutionary, physiological and molecular perspectives together, we hope to provide clear directives for future research and stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue on the relevance of phenotypic plasticity under climate change. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              The effect of deleterious mutations on neutral molecular variation.

              Selection against deleterious alleles maintained by mutation may cause a reduction in the amount of genetic variability at linked neutral sites. This is because a new neutral variant can only remain in a large population for a long period of time if it is maintained in gametes that are free of deleterious alleles, and hence are not destined for rapid elimination from the population by selection. Approximate formulas are derived for the reduction below classical neutral values resulting from such background selection against deleterious mutations, for the mean times to fixation and loss of new mutations, nucleotide site diversity, and number of segregating sites. These formulas apply to random-mating populations with no genetic recombination, and to populations reproducing exclusively asexually or by self-fertilization. For a given selection regime and mating system, the reduction is an exponential function of the total mutation rate to deleterious mutations for the section of the genome involved. Simulations show that the effect decreases rapidly with increasing recombination frequency or rate of outcrossing. The mean time to loss of new neutral mutations and the total number of segregating neutral sites are less sensitive to background selection than the other statistics, unless the population size is of the order of a hundred thousand or more. The stationary distribution of allele frequencies at the neutral sites is correspondingly skewed in favor of rare alleles, compared with the classical neutral result. Observed reductions in molecular variation in low recombination genomic regions of sufficiently large size, for instance in the centromere-proximal regions of Drosophila autosomes or in highly selfing plant populations, may be partly due to background selection against deleterious mutations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evol Appl
                Evolutionary applications
                Wiley
                1752-4571
                1752-4571
                Jan 2014
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University Bronx, NY, USA.
                [2 ] Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada.
                Article
                10.1111/eva.12112
                3894902
                24454552
                b5ff6a58-86e7-468c-89cb-304b3c9a87cb
                History

                adaptive evolution,ecological genetics,global change,phenotypic plasticity

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