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Evolution as the Basis for Coping with Climate Change
Mergeay, J. and Santamaria, L. 2012. Evolution and biodiversity: the evolutionary basis of biodiversity and its potential for adaptation to global change. Evolutionary Applications 5: 103-106.

The paper of Mergeay and Santamaria constitutes an Editorial that introduces nine papers that are included in a Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications, and which are based on numerous contributions to a meeting on Evolution and Biodiversity that was held in Mallorca, Spain (12-15 April 2010), as well as a preparatory e-conference.

What was done
In the words of the two special-issue editors, Shine (2012) opens the special issue by "showing how evolution can rapidly modify ecologically relevant traits in invading as well as native species." Bijlsma and Loeschcke (2012) then "tackle the interaction of drift, inbreeding and environmental stress," while Angeloni et al. (2012) "provide a conceptual tool-box for genomic research in conservation biology and highlight some of its possibilities for the mechanistic study of functional variation, adaptation and inbreeding."

Following them, Van Dyck (2012) shows that "an organism's perception of its environment is subject to selection, a mechanism that could reduce the initial impact of environmental degradation or alleviate it over the longer run." Urban et al. (2012) then argue that "certain consequences of global change can only be accounted for by interactions between ecological and evolutionary processes." And Lemaire et al. (2012) highlight "the important role of evolution in predator-prey interactions."

Focusing on eco-evolutionary interactions, Palkovacs et al. (2012) "review studies on phenotypic change in response to human activities" and "show that phenotypic change can sometimes cascade across populations, communities and even entire ecosystems," while Bonduriansky et al. (2012) examine "non-genetic inheritance and its role in adaptation," dissecting "the diversity of epigenetic and other transgenerational effects." Last of all, Santamaria and Mendez (2012) "build on the information reviewed in all previous papers to identify recent advances in evolutionary knowledge of particular importance to improve or complement current biodiversity policy."

What was learned
"Overall," as Mergeay and Santamaria conclude, "these nine papers offer compelling evidence for the role of evolutionary processes in the maintenance of biodiversity and the adaptation to global change."

What it means
There is a whole lot more involved in determining the real-world response of individual species to projected climate change than the simple bioclimatic envelope approach that climate alarmists employ when making their predictions of catastrophic species extinctions arising from their predictions of catastrophic CO2-induced global warming.

Angeloni, F., Wagemaker, C.A.M., Vergeer, P. and Ouborg, N.J. 2012. Genomic toolboxes for conservation biologists. Evolutionary Applications 5: 130-143.

Bijlsma, R. and Loeschcke, V. 2012. Genetic erosion impedes adaptive responses to stressful environments. Evolutionary Applications 5: 117-129.

Bonduriansky, R., Crean, A.J. and Day, D.T. 2012. The implications of nongenetic inheritance for evolution in changing environments. Evolutionary Applications 5: 192-201.

Lemaire, V., Bruscotti, S., Van Gremberghe, I., Vyverman, W., Vanoverbeke, J. and De Meester, L. 2012. Genotype x genotype interactions between the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis and its grazer, the water flea Daphnia. Evolutionary Applications 5: 168-182.

Palkovacs, E., Kinnison, M.T., Correa, C., Dalton, C.M. and Hendry, A. 2012. Ecological consequences of human-induced trait change: fates beyond traits. Evolutionary Applications 5: 183-191.

Santamaria, L. and Mendez, P.F. 2012. Evolution in biodiversity policy - current gaps and future needs. Evolutionary Applications 5: 202-218.

Shine, R. 2012. Invasive species as drivers of evolutionary change: cane toads in tropical Australia. Evolutionary Applications 5: 107-116.

Urban, M.C., De Meester, L., Vellend, M., Stoks, R. and Vanoverbeke, J. 2012. A crucial step towards realism: responses to climate change from an evolving metacommunity perspective. Evolutionary Applications 5: 154-167.

Van Dyck, H. 2012. Changing organisms in rapidly changing anthropogenic landscapes: the significance of the "Umwelt"-concept and functional habitat for animal conservation. Evolutionary Applications 5: 144-153.

Reviewed 12 September 2012