Climate change and evolutionary adaptation

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Evolutionary adaptation can be rapid and potentially help species counter stressful conditions or realize ecological opportunities arising from climate change. The challenges are to understand when evolution will occur and to identify potential evolutionary winners as well as losers, such as species lacking adaptive capacity living near physiological limits. Evolutionary processes also need to be incorporated into management programmes designed to minimize biodiversity loss under rapid climate change. These challenges can be met through realistic models of evolutionary change linked to experimental data across a range of taxa.

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Figure 1: Potential effect of evolution in egg desiccation resistance on life-cycle completions of the mosquito Aedes aegypti in the region around Darwin, Australia.


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A.A.H. was supported by an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. C.M.S. was supported by an ARC Australian Research Fellowship. A.A.H. and C.M.S. were also supported by funding provided by the Commonwealth Environment Research Facility. We thank P. Griffin, A. Miller and C. Robin for comments that improved the manuscript.

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A.A.H. developed the framework for the review, both authors contributed sections.

Correspondence to Ary A. Hoffmann.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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