Rapid environmental changes are threatening biodiversity and exposing species to novel ecological and evolutionary pressures. The scientific community increasingly recognizes the need for dynamic models integrating sufficient complexity both to improve our understanding of species' responses to environmental changes and to inform effective management strategies.
Using three illustrative examples, we introduce a novel modelling platform, RangeShifter, which integrates complex population dynamics and dispersal behaviour, includes plastic and evolutionary processes and simulates scenarios on spatially explicit landscapes. The software provides functionality for a wide variety of modelling applications ranging from applied questions, where it can be parameterized for real landscapes and species to compare alternative potential management interventions, to purely theoretical studies of species' eco-evolutionary dynamics and responses to different environmental pressures.
RangeShifter provides an important tool for facilitating the advancement of ecological theory on species' spatial dynamics in response to environmental changes, and linking it directly to application in biodiversity conservation.