UW Aquatic & Fishery Sciences Quantitative Seminar
Associate Professor, UW, Biology
Functional approaches to ecological and evolutionary forecasting
Mechanistic niche models translate an organism’s phenotype and environmental conditions into energetics and population dynamics. These models predict more pronounced and individualistic responses to climate change than environmental niche models. I will describe research testing mechanistic models by hindcasting responses to climate change for Colorado Colias butterflies over the last 50 years. We are repeating historic lab and field studies and examining museum specimens to investigate how butterfly phenotypes determine ecological and evolutionary responses to climate change. We use mechanistic models to explore the interaction of plasticity and evolution in responses of phenotypes to climate change. Our research suggests that considering phenotypic plasticity and evolution will be essential to accurately forecasting responses to climate change.