Phylogenetic signal in species range shifts

Grenouillet Gaël (1), Comte Lise (2), Murienne Jérome (3), Bertrand Romain (4), Lenoir Jonathan (5)

1 UMR 5174, University of Toulouse,  118 route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse Cedex 9, France, gael.grenouillet@univ-tlse3.fr

2 School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, 1122 NE Boat St, Seattle WA 98195, lcomte@uw.edu

3 UMR 5174, University of Toulouse,  118 route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse Cedex 9, France,, jerome.murienne@univ-tlse3.fr

4 CNRS, Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling (CBTM) – Station d’Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS, 2 route du CNRS – Moulis – France, 09200, romain.bertrand@ecoex-moulis.cnrs.fr

5 Unité de Recherche ‘Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés’ (EDYSAN, FRE 3498 CNRS-UPJV), Jules Verne University of Picardie, 1 rue des Louvels, F-80037 Amiens Cedex 1, France, lenoir.john@gmail.com, @EkoLogIt

Species range shifts in response to climate change have been documented for many taxa, and the ability of species to track shifting climates might reflect their vulnerability to future changes. To date, although reported range shifts (poleward and upslope) have predominantly been in the direction expected from observed climate changes, there is also ample evidence of idiosyncratic responses, which limits our ability to predict distributional shifts across species. In this context, the last decade has seen an upsurge in ecological studies integrating evolutionary history, motivated by the common conjecture that closely-related species should share similar attributes (i.e. phylogenetic trait conservatism) potentially leading to similar responses to environmental changes. However, how the evolutionary history of species influences their ability to track niches remains poorly assessed and may offer new opportunities in facing conservation challenges. Here, we investigate phylogenetic signal in climate-induced range shifts. We aggregated documented shifts along latitudinal and elevational ranges across a wide variety of eukaryotic groups and ecosystems. We then used the most comprehensive, well-resolved and time-calibrated molecular phylogenies for the set of included species. After controlling for the effect of climate change velocities experienced by a species (i.e. species exposure), we quantified the phylogenetic signal among groups in range shifts based on several descriptors (i.e. optimum, trailing and leading edges) of species distribution. We present the first global overview of how phylogenetic signal in range shifts varies among taxonomic groups and may help improve our understanding of the vulnerability of species to future climate changes.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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