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Climate change induces eco-evolutionary dynamics of integrated phenotypes

Principal researcher: David Canal

Period: 2023-2028

One of the most alarming human-induced rapid environmental changes is climate change, which has already had considerable effects on the Earth's ecosystems. Hence, it becomes crucial to understand how populations respond to such changes. Hence, it becomes crucial to understand how populations respond to such changes. This task inherently requires a multidisciplinary framework, as identifying the critical environmental factors is an ecological problem, while population responses can be understood in an evolutionary context. The notion that ecology and evolution are intertwined in the short term provides a new synthetic but still developing framework. The concept of eco-evolutionary dynamics relies on phenotypic integration, whereby a suite of traits interacts at both the genetic and phenotypic levels, resulting in a complex network of interactions that remain largely uncharacterised in natural systems. To fill this gap, I will investigate the phenotypic integration of multiple phenotypes in an avian model population to i) examine the relative influence of multiple biotic- and non-biotic environmental factors, ii) identify the target phenotypes -life history, behavioural or morphological-, or the correlation structure thereof, that selection act upon, and iii) examine the degree by these responses are mediated by phenotypic plasticity or genetic changes. Furthermore, by comparing multiple populations across the species distribution range, iv) I will assess the relative role of different eco-evolutionary mechanisms that promote local adaptation at a biogeographical scale. Thus, the proposed research will solidly expand our understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to adaptation to predictable and unpredictable environmental changes, with fundamental implications for the origin and maintenance of biodiversity

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