Evolution on the move: specialization on widespread resources associated with rapid range expansion in response to climate change.

Jon R. Bridle*, James Buckley, Edward J. Bodsworth, Chris D. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Generalist species and phenotypes are expected to perform best under rapid environmental change. In contrast to this view that generalists will inherit the Earth, we find that increased use of a single host plant is associated with the recent climate-driven range expansion of the UK brown argus butterfly. Field assays of female host plant preference across the UK reveal a diversity of adaptations to host plants in long-established parts of the range, whereas butterflies in recently colonized areas are more specialized, consistently preferring to lay eggs on one host plant species that is geographically widespread throughout the region of expansion, despite being locally rare. By common-garden rearing of females' offspring, we also show an increase in dispersal propensity associated with the colonization of new sites. Range expansion is therefore associated with an increase in the spatial scale of adaptation as dispersive specialists selectively spread into new regions. Major restructuring of patterns of local adaptation is likely to occur across many taxa with climate change, as lineages suited to regional colonization rather than local success emerge and expand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20131800
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume281
Issue number1776
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2014

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution on the move: specialization on widespread resources associated with rapid range expansion in response to climate change.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this