Expansion under climate change: the genetic consequences

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Range expansion and range shifts are crucial population responses to climate change. Genetic
    consequences are not well understood but are clearly coupled to ecological dynamics that, in turn,
    are driven by shifting climate conditions. We model a population with a deterministic reaction–
    diffusion model coupled to a heterogeneous environment that develops in time due to climate change.
    We decompose the resulting travelling wave solution into neutral genetic components to analyse
    the spatio-temporal dynamics of its genetic structure. Our analysis shows that range expansions
    and range shifts under slow climate change preserve genetic diversity. This is because slow climate
    change creates range boundaries that promote spatial mixing of genetic components. Mathematically, the mixing leads to so-called pushed travelling wave solutions. This mixing phenomenon is
    not seen in spatially homogeneous environments, where range expansion reduces genetic diversity
    through gene surfing arising from pulled travelling wave solutions. However, the preservation of
    diversity is diminished when climate change occurs too quickly. Using diversity indices, we show
    that fast expansions and range shifts erode genetic diversity more than slow range expansions and
    range shifts. Our study provides analytical insight into the dynamics of travelling wave solutions
    in heterogeneous environments.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International