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Can Evolution Help Wildlife Adapt to Climate Change? Exploring Evolutionary Adaptive Capacity (EVAC) and Bridging the Gap between Science and Management

Climate Change and Evolutionary Adaptive Capacity (EVAC): Bridging the Gap between Science and Management

Dates

Start Date
2015-10-01
End Date
2018-09

Summary

Assessing the vulnerability of wildlife species to a changing climate is critical for understanding what adaptation actions need to be taken to minimize negative impacts. The ability of species to adapt to the impacts of climate change (i.e., their adaptive capacity) is an important factor to consider when assessing vulnerability. For example, organisms can possess traits that allow them to move to areas of favorable habitat or change their phenotypes (observable characteristics) in response to changing environmental conditions. Additionally, an organism’s traits can adapt to a changing external environment over multiple generations through evolutionary processes. Recent scientific evidence suggests that “evolutionary adaptive capacity” [...]

Child Items (4)

Contacts

Principal Investigator :
Laura M Thompson
Funding Agency :
NCCWSC

Attached Files

Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.

Caribou_SteveHillebrand_FWS.jpg
“Caribou - Credit: Steve Hillebrand, FWS”
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Purpose

Assessing vulnerability of species to a changing climate is critical for understanding what adaptation actions are necessary to minimize impacts. However, the ability of species to moderate the impacts of climate change (i.e., adaptive capacity) is an important factor to consider when assessing vulnerability. Organisms can possess traits that allow them to move to areas of favorable habitat or alter their phenotypes in response to varying environmental conditions. Additionally, traits can adapt over multiple generations through evolutionary processes. Recent evidence suggests that evolutionary adaptive capacity (EVAC) can occur over shorter time periods than originally thought and tools to measure and predict evolutionary changes are becoming increasingly available. However, accounting for EVAC in climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning is uncommon and resource managers often make decisions without considering the potential evolvability of species. The purpose of this work is to help bridge the gap between the science and management communities by highlighting examples of EVAC that have resulted from changing climate conditions and providing insights on how relevant scientific information can be fed into policy and planning activities. This work will foster a two-way communication that provides equal importance to what scientists can learn from managers and what managers can learn from scientists, increasing the likelihood of knowledge uptake by the decision-making community. The specific objectives are to 1) illustrate the importance of EVAC and its interaction with other forms of adaptive capacity for understanding vulnerability of organisms, 2) identify common barriers that managers encounter with regards to assessing and making decisions related to EVAC, 3) provide knowledge that could serve as a solution for overcoming barriers, and 4) identify knowledge gaps where future research is needed to inform key management questions.

Project Extension

projectStatusIn Progress
projectProducts
productDescriptionPeer-reviewed publication
statusExpected

Budget Extension

totalFunds5000.0
annualBudgets
year2016
totalFunds5000.0

Caribou - Credit: Steve Hillebrand, FWS
Caribou - Credit: Steve Hillebrand, FWS

Map

Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS

Communities

  • National CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers

Tags

Categories
Community
Organization
Fiscal Year
Science Themes
Wildlife and Plants
Science Tools For Managers
Types

Provenance

DEPTH-2.7.1

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