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Environmental change has been observed to generate simultaneous responses in population dynamics, life history, gene frequencies, and morphology in a number of species. But how common are such eco-evolutionary responses to environmental change likely to be? Are they inevitable, or do they require a specific type of change? Can we accurately predict eco-evolutionary responses? We address these questions using theory and data from the study of Yellowstone wolves. We show that environmental change is expected to generate eco-evolutionary change, that changes in the average environment will affect wolves to a greater extent than changes in how variable it is, and that accurate prediction of the consequences of environmental change will probably prove elusive.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1209441

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

02/12/2011

Volume

334

Pages

1275 - 1278

Keywords

Animals, Biological Evolution, Body Weight, Ecosystem, Environment, Female, Forecasting, Genetic Fitness, Genotype, Male, Models, Biological, Models, Statistical, Northwestern United States, Phenotype, Population Dynamics, Survival, Wolves