Evidence of current impact of climate change on life: A walk from genes to the biosphere

Penuelas J., Sardans J., Estiarte M., Ogaya R., Carnicer J., Coll M., Barbeta A., Rivas-Ubach A., Llusia J., Garbulsky M., Filella I., Jump A.S. (2013) Evidence of current impact of climate change on life: A walk from genes to the biosphere. Global Change Biology. 19: 2303-2338.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.12143

Abstract:

We review the evidence of how organisms and populations are currently responding to climate change through phenotypic plasticity, genotypic evolution, changes in distribution and, in some cases, local extinction. Organisms alter their gene expression and metabolism to increase the concentrations of several antistress compounds and to change their physiology, phenology, growth and reproduction in response to climate change. Rapid adaptation and microevolution occur at the population level. Together with these phenotypic and genotypic adaptations, the movement of organisms and the turnover of populations can lead to migration toward habitats with better conditions unless hindered by barriers. Both migration and local extinction of populations have occurred. However, many unknowns for all these processes remain. The roles of phenotypic plasticity and genotypic evolution and their possible trade-offs and links with population structure warrant further research. The application of omic techniques to ecological studies will greatly favor this research. It remains poorly understood how climate change will result in asymmetrical responses of species and how it will interact with other increasing global impacts, such as N eutrophication, changes in environmental N : P ratios and species invasion, among many others. The biogeochemical and biophysical feedbacks on climate of all these changes in vegetation are also poorly understood. We here review the evidence of responses to climate change and discuss the perspectives for increasing our knowledge of the interactions between climate change and life. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Read more

Simulated climate change provokes rapid genetic change in the Mediterranean shrub Fumana thymifolia

Jump A.S., Peñuelas J., Rico L., Ramallo E., Estiarte M., Martínez-Izquierdo J.A., Lloret F. (2008) Simulated climate change provokes rapid genetic change in the Mediterranean shrub Fumana thymifolia. Global Change Biology. 14: 637-643.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01521.x

Abstract:

Rapid climate change will impose strong directional selection pressures on natural plant populations. Climate-linked genetic variation in natural populations indicates that an evolutionary response is possible. We investigated such a response by comparing individuals subjected to elevated drought and warming treatments with individuals establishing in an unmanipulated climate within the same population. We report that reduction in seedling establishment in response to climate manipulations is nonrandom and results from the selection pressure imposed by artificially warmed and droughted conditions. When compared against control samples, high single-locus genetic divergence occurred in drought and warming treatment samples, with genetic differentiation up to 37 times higher than background (mean neutral locus) genetic differentiation. These loci violate assumptions of selective neutrality, indicating the signature of natural selection by drought. Our results demonstrate that rapid evolution in response to climate change may be widespread in natural populations, based on genetic variation already present within the population. © 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Read more