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Investigating Climate Change and Reproduction: Experimental Tools from Evolutionary Biology
ETH Zurich, Experimental Ecology, Institute for Integrative Biology, Universitätsstrasse 16, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
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Received: 23 July 2012; in revised form: 30 August 2012 / Accepted: 4 September 2012 / Published: 13 September 2012
Abstract: It is now generally acknowledged that climate change has wide-ranging biological consequences, potentially leading to impacts on biodiversity. Environmental factors can have diverse and often strong effects on reproduction, with obvious ramifications for population fitness. Nevertheless, reproductive traits are often neglected in conservation considerations. Focusing on animals, recent progress in sexual selection and sexual conflict research suggests that reproductive costs may pose an underestimated hurdle during rapid climate change, potentially lowering adaptive potential and increasing extinction risk of certain populations. Nevertheless, regime shifts may have both negative and positive effects on reproduction, so it is important to acquire detailed experimental data. We hence present an overview of the literature reporting short-term reproductive consequences of exposure to different environmental factors. From the enormous diversity of findings, we conclude that climate change research could benefit greatly from more coordinated efforts incorporating evolutionary approaches in order to obtain cross-comparable data on how individual and population reproductive fitness respond in the long term. Therefore, we propose ideas and methods concerning future efforts dealing with reproductive consequences of climate change, in particular by highlighting the advantages of multi-generational experimental evolution experiments.
Keywords: experimental evolution; sexual selection; global warming; speciation; extinction
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MDPI and ACS Style
Grazer, V.M.; Martin, O.Y. Investigating Climate Change and Reproduction: Experimental Tools from Evolutionary Biology. Biology 2012, 1, 411-438.
Grazer VM, Martin OY. Investigating Climate Change and Reproduction: Experimental Tools from Evolutionary Biology. Biology. 2012; 1(2):411-438.
Grazer, Vera M.; Martin, Oliver Y. 2012. "Investigating Climate Change and Reproduction: Experimental Tools from Evolutionary Biology." Biology 1, no. 2: 411-438.