Evolution in Response to Climate Change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Evolution proceeds unceasingly in all biological populations. Consequently, there is no doubt that evolution and adaptation are proceeding as climate changes. However, it remains unclear whether evolutionary processes – natural selection, mutation, gene flow between divergent populations, and genetic drift – will result in adaptation of earth's biota to radically changing climate to the extent that species and their constituent populations persist. At present, prediction of the number and identities of species that will adapt at a rate that keeps pace with climate change is not possible. This chapter provides an overview of the key evolutionary processes that influence the potential for adaptation to climate change. We also summarize current research methods used to improve our understanding of this important topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biodiversity, Third Edition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128225622
ISBN (Print)9780323984348
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Adaptation
  • Environmental response
  • Evolutionary response
  • Extinction
  • Gene flow
  • Genetic drift
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Heritability
  • Mutation
  • Phenotypic plasticity and Quantitative genetics


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