Evolutionary responses to climate change

J. S. Griffiths, Louisiana State University
M. W. Kelly, Louisiana State University


© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. The current rate of climate change is faster than all of geologic history, and one-sixth of all species are at risk of extinction. Changes in species’ distributions through migration and persistence through phenotypic plasticity will not be enough to match unprecedented rates of change. However, recent evidence suggests that some species are capable of adapting through evolution at a sufficient pace to evade extinction. This article explores some of the discoveries of recent adaptations to current climate change and outlines the methods used to demonstrate that evolution has occurred. Additionally, many studies have documented the potential for adaptation to predicted changes in climate. We describe the methods used to demonstrate evolutionary potential and how these methods can inform conservation thinking and management.