Viktoriia Radchuk , 1 , Thomas Reed 2 , Céline Teplitsky 3 , Martijn van de Pol 4 , Anne Charmantier 3 , Christopher Hassall 5 , Peter Adamík 6 , Frank Adriaensen 7 , Markus P. Ahola 8 , Peter Arcese 9 , Jesús Miguel Avilés 10 , Javier Balbontin 11 , Karl S. Berg 12 , Antoni Borras 13 , Sarah Burthe 14 , Jean Clobert 15 , Nina Dehnhard 16 , Florentino de Lope 17 , André A. Dhondt 18 , Niels J. Dingemanse 19 , Hideyuki Doi 20 , Tapio Eeva 21 , Joerns Fickel 1 , 22 , Iolanda Filella 23 , 24 , Frode Fossøy 25 , 26 , Anne E. Goodenough 27 , Stephen J. G. Hall 28 , Bengt Hansson 29 , Michael Harris 14 , Dennis Hasselquist 29 , Thomas Hickler 30 , Jasmin Joshi 31 , 32 , Heather Kharouba 33 , Juan Gabriel Martínez 34 , Jean-Baptiste Mihoub 35 , James A. Mills 36 , 37 , Mercedes Molina-Morales 17 , Arne Moksnes 24 , Arpat Ozgul 38 , Deseada Parejo 17 , Philippe Pilard 39 , Maud Poisbleau 16 , Francois Rousset 40 , Mark-Oliver Rödel 41 , David Scott 42 , Juan Carlos Senar 13 , Constanti Stefanescu 23 , 43 , Bård G. Stokke 24 , 25 , Tamotsu Kusano 44 , Maja Tarka 29 , Corey E. Tarwater 45 , Kirsten Thonicke 46 , Jack Thorley 47 , 48 , Andreas Wilting 1 , Piotr Tryjanowski 49 , Juha Merilä 50 , Ben C. Sheldon 51 , Anders Pape Møller 52 , Erik Matthysen 7 , Fredric Janzen 53 , F. Stephen Dobson 54 , Marcel E. Visser 4 , Steven R. Beissinger 55 , Alexandre Courtiol 1 , Stephanie Kramer-Schadt 1 , 56
23 July 2019
Biological responses to climate change have been widely documented across taxa and regions, but it remains unclear whether species are maintaining a good match between phenotype and environment, i.e. whether observed trait changes are adaptive. Here we reviewed 10,090 abstracts and extracted data from 71 studies reported in 58 relevant publications, to assess quantitatively whether phenotypic trait changes associated with climate change are adaptive in animals. A meta-analysis focussing on birds, the taxon best represented in our dataset, suggests that global warming has not systematically affected morphological traits, but has advanced phenological traits. We demonstrate that these advances are adaptive for some species, but imperfect as evidenced by the observed consistent selection for earlier timing. Application of a theoretical model indicates that the evolutionary load imposed by incomplete adaptive responses to ongoing climate change may already be threatening the persistence of species.
It is unclear whether species’ responses to climate change tend to be adaptive or sufficient to keep up with climate change. Here, Radchuk et al. perform a meta-analysis showing that in birds phenology has advanced adaptively in some species, though not all the way to the new optima.