Climate change is predicted to alter global species diversity1, the distribution of human pathogens2 and ecosystem services3. Forecasting these changes and designing adequate management of future ecosystem services will require predictive models encompassing the most fundamental biotic responses. However, most present models omit important processes such as evolution and competition4,5. Here we develop a spatially explicit eco-evolutionary model of multi-species responses to climate change. We demonstrate that both dispersal and evolution differentially mediate extinction risks and biodiversity alterations through time and across climate gradients. Together, high genetic variance and low dispersal best minimized extinction risks. Surprisingly, high dispersal did not reduce extinctions, because the shifting ranges of some species hastened the decline of others. Evolutionary responses dominated during the later stages of climatic changes and in hot regions. No extinctions occurred without competition, which highlights the importance of including species interactions in global biodiversity models. Most notably, climate change created extinction and evolutionary debts, with changes in species richness and traits occurring long after climate stabilization. Therefore, even if we halt anthropogenic climate change today, transient eco-evolutionary dynamics would ensure centuries of additional alterations in global biodiversity.
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This work was conducted as part of the Evolution in Meta-Communities Working Group supported by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a centre financially supported by the NSF (grant EF-0553768), the University of California, Santa Barbara and the State of California. Additional support was also provided for M. Urban, the NCEAS postdoctoral associate in the group. J.N. was supported by the Swedish Research Council and the Strategic Research Program EkoKlim at Stockholm University. M.C.U. was supported by NSF award DEB-1119877 and a J. F. McDonnell foundation grant. M.V. was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada. N.L. received financial support from Université Pierre & Marie Curie and from CNRS. C.A.K. was supported by grants from the J. S. McDonnell Foundation and NSF awards DEB-0845825, OCE-0928819 and DEB-1136710. C. de Mazancourt provided insights for the partitioning of the change in mean trait. This is contribution 1700 of the Kellogg Biological Station.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Norberg, J., Urban, M., Vellend, M. et al. Eco-evolutionary responses of biodiversity to climate change. Nature Clim Change 2, 747–751 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1588
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