Rates of warming during recent decades have exceeded those experienced during the previous millennia. This anthropogenic climate change has led to advances in organismal phenology, shifts in geographic ranges, and disruptions of ecological interactions. A growing body of evidence underscores the need to consider evolutionary responses to global warming. Both the physiological regulation of phenology and the thermal sensitivity of performance have evolved in warming environments. Nevertheless, quantitative genetic and allelic models suggest that rapid warming will lead to persistent maladaptation and certain extinction. The degree of maladaptation during warming depends on numerous factors, including the stochasticity of temperature, the size of the population, the additive genetic variance, the rate of gene flow, and the interactions between species. Further development of these models could lead to an applied theory of thermal adaptation that more accurately predicts the biological impacts of global warming.
Keywords: climate change; global warming; thermal optimum; performance breadth; thermoregulation; performance curve
Chapter. 12844 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases
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