Journal article

Using connectivity to identify climatic drivers of local adaptation

Stewart L Macdonald, John Llewelyn, Ben L Phillips

ECOLOGY LETTERS | WILEY | Published : 2018


Understanding the climatic drivers of local adaptation is vital. Such knowledge is not only of theoretical interest but is critical to inform management actions under climate change, such as assisted translocation and targeted gene flow. Unfortunately, there are a vast number of potential trait-environment combinations, and simple relationships between trait and environment are ambiguous: representing either plastic or evolved variation. Here, we show that by incorporating connectivity as an index of gene flow, we can differentiate trait-environment relationships reflecting genetic variation vs. phenotypic plasticity. In this way, we rapidly shorten the list of trait-environment combinations..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, an Australian Postgraduate Award to SLM, and the Australian Research Council (DP130100318, FT160100198). We thank Craig Moritz for insightful discussion around these ideas. All physiological data used in these analyses were collected by Amberlee Hatcher at James Cook University. The authors are extremely grateful for her patience and attention to detail while undertaking this task.