Biology Section

Ecology, Behavior & Evolution: Research Topics

Adaptation to Global Environmental Change

The evolutionary and ecological factors that determine how species and ecosystems respond to a changing environment. Selection among individuals with variable traits may allow species to persist in a dynamic environment. Similarly, the composition of communities may shift with changes in precipitation, temperature, and extreme events in the climate. These responses can impart resilience in biological systems and allow them to maintain their functions despite dramatic assaults from the environment. However, the adaptive capacity of populations and communities has limits which can potentially lead to extinction and catastrophic collapse of ecosystem services which support people and other organisms. Evolutionary biologists and ecologists share an interest in the adaptive dynamics of organisms and their limits in a variable and unpredictable world.