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Warming-Induced Plant Evolution: Almost in the Blink of an Eye

Paper Reviewed
Thomann, M., Imbert, E. and Cheptou, P.-O. 2015a. Is rapid evolution of reproductive traits in Adonis annua consistent with pollinator decline? Acta Oecologica 69: 161-166.

In exploring this intriguing subject, Thomann et al. (2015a) acquired seeds of the annual self-compatible weed Adonis annua that were produced in the same locality in both 1992 and 2010, which they used to conduct a common garden experiment to reveal any evolutionary changes that may have occurred over the course of that 18-year period, looking particularly for "some reproductive traits expected to be under selection in the context of climate warming."

In doing so, the three researchers report that they detected "the evolution of some major phenological and reproductive traits after 18 years of evolution under natural conditions," thereby both supplementing and confirming their conclusion that (1) "major traits influencing reproductive success can evolve in a few years" and that (2) "evolution cannot be neglected in natural populations, even over short time scales," further supporting (and supported by) the contemporary findings of Thomann et al. (2015b). Such news is certainly welcoming for those concerned about the possible extinction of species due to global warming.

Thomann, M., Imbert, E., Engstrand, R.C. and Cheptou, P.-O. 2015b. Contemporary evolution of plant reproductive strategies under global change is revealed by stored seeds. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 28: 766-778.

Posted 14 September 2016