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Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Climate Change (July 2017): Invasive Species

By Diane P. Genereux and David A. Lovejoy

Invasive Species

As previously noted, the rapidity of anthropogenic climate change is blurring the distinction between ecological and evolutionary responses. The most immediate impact of climate change on invasive species is an ecological one: shifting conditions permit invaders to survive in formerly inhospitable habitats. This, of course, opens ample opportunities for evolutionary responses on the part of both invading and native species, and often dire ecological implications for invaded ecosystems.

Several works have begun to explore the complexities of these combined ecological and evolutionary effects. For an introduction to this area, it is suggested that one consult Invasive Species and Global Climate Change, edited by Lewis H. Ziska and Jeffrey S. Dukes, which compiles essays that address how invaders themselves are responding, both ecologically and evolutionarily, to the newly hospitable conditions in formerly inaccessible locations.