Life history trade-offs, the intensity of competition, and coexistence in novel and evolving communities under climate change

Lesley T. Lancaster, Gavin Morrison, Robert N. Fitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The consequences of climate change for local biodiversity are little
understood in process or mechanism, but these changes are likely to reflect both
changing regional species pools and changing competitive interactions. Previous
empirical work largely supports the idea that competition will intensify under
climate change, promoting competitive exclusions and local extinction, while
theory and conceptual work indicate that relaxed competition may in fact buffer
communities from biodiversity losses that are typically witnessed at broader
spatial scales. In this review, we apply life history theory to understand the
conditions under which these alternative scenarios may play out in the context
of a range-shifting biota undergoing rapid evolutionary and environmental
change, and at both leading-edge and trailing-edge communities. We conclude
that in general, warming temperatures are likely to reduce life history variation
among competitors, intensifying competition in both established and novel
communities. However, longer growing seasons, severe environmental stress,
and increased climatic variability associated with climate change may buffer
these communities against biodiversity loss. The role of life history plasticity and
evolution has been previously underappreciated in community ecology, but may
hold the key to understanding changing species interactions and local
biodiversity under changing climates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20160046
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume372
Issue number1712
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2016

Fingerprint

Climate Change
Biodiversity
Climate change
coexistence
life history
climate change
biodiversity
life history theory
Biota
community ecology
species pool
local extinction
competitive exclusion
Ecology
environmental stress
Climate
Plasticity
plasticity
biota
extinction

Keywords

  • range shifts
  • no-analogue communities
  • global warming
  • trophic interactions and competition
  • community
  • ecological niche

Cite this

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title = "Life history trade-offs, the intensity of competition, and coexistence in novel and evolving communities under climate change",
abstract = "The consequences of climate change for local biodiversity are littleunderstood in process or mechanism, but these changes are likely to reflect bothchanging regional species pools and changing competitive interactions. Previousempirical work largely supports the idea that competition will intensify underclimate change, promoting competitive exclusions and local extinction, whiletheory and conceptual work indicate that relaxed competition may in fact buffercommunities from biodiversity losses that are typically witnessed at broaderspatial scales. In this review, we apply life history theory to understand theconditions under which these alternative scenarios may play out in the contextof a range-shifting biota undergoing rapid evolutionary and environmentalchange, and at both leading-edge and trailing-edge communities. We concludethat in general, warming temperatures are likely to reduce life history variationamong competitors, intensifying competition in both established and novelcommunities. However, longer growing seasons, severe environmental stress,and increased climatic variability associated with climate change may bufferthese communities against biodiversity loss. The role of life history plasticity andevolution has been previously underappreciated in community ecology, but mayhold the key to understanding changing species interactions and localbiodiversity under changing climates.",
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note = "University of Aberdeen School of Biological Sciences provided funds to support this study in the form of a MSc project allowance to G.M. and a start-up grant to L.T.L. R.N.F.’s salary is funded by a UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) PhD-ship awarded to the University of Aberdeen.",
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