[Copyright line has been changed on 23 January 2014, after first online publication.]
The shaping of genetic variation in edge-of-range populations under past and future climate change
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and CNRS.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 16, Issue 10, pages 1258–1266, October 2013
How to Cite
Ecology Letters (2013) 16: 1258–1266
- Issue published online: 12 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 21 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 8 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 4 APR 2013
- Hon. Vincent Weir through the Bat Conservation Trust
- UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Biomolecular Analysis Facility at the University of Sheffield. Grant Number: NBAF548
- Approximate Bayesian computation;
- ecological niche modelling;
- niche conservatism;
With rates of climate change exceeding the rate at which many species are able to shift their range or adapt, it is important to understand how future changes are likely to affect biodiversity at all levels of organisation. Understanding past responses and extent of niche conservatism in climatic tolerance can help predict future consequences. We use an integrated approach to determine the genetic consequences of past and future climate changes on a bat species, Plecotus austriacus. Glacial refugia predicted by palaeo-modelling match those identified from analyses of extant genetic diversity and model-based inference of demographic history. Former refugial populations currently contain disproportionately high genetic diversity, but niche conservatism, shifts in suitable areas and barriers to migration mean that these hotspots of genetic diversity are under threat from future climate change. Evidence of population decline despite recent northward migration highlights the need to conserve leading-edge populations for spearheading future range shifts.