Incorporating evolutionary adaptation in species distribution modelling reduces projected vulnerability to climate change

Authors: Alex Bush, Karel Mokany, Renee Catullo, Ary Hoffmann, Vanessa Kellermann, Carla Sgrò, Shane McEvey, and Simon Ferrier

Published in: Ecology Letters, volume 19, issue 12 (December 2016)


Based on the sensitivity of species to ongoing climate change, and numerous challenges they face tracking suitable conditions, there is growing interest in species’ capacity to adapt to climatic stress.

Here, we develop and apply a new generic modelling approach (AdaptR) that incorporates adaptive capacity through physiological limits, phenotypic plasticity, evolutionary adaptation and dispersal into a species distribution modelling framework.

Using AdaptR to predict change in the distribution of 17 species of Australian fruit flies (Drosophilidae), we show that accounting for adaptive capacity reduces projected range losses by up to 33% by 2105. We identify where local adaptation is likely to occur and apply sensitivity analyses to identify the critical factors of interest when parameters are uncertain.

Our study suggests some species could be less vulnerable than previously thought, and indicates that spatiotemporal adaptive models could help improve management interventions that support increased species’ resilience to climate change.


Bush A, Mokany K, Catullo R, Hoffmann A, Kellermann V, Sgrò C, McEvey S, Ferrier S (2016) Incorporating evolutionary adaptation in species distribution modelling reduces projected vulnerability to climate change. Ecology Letters, PDF DOI

Drosophila as models to understand the adaptive process during invasion

Authors: Patricia Gibert , Matthew Hill, Marta Pascual, Christophe Plantamp, John S Terblanche, Amir Yassin and Carla M Sgrò

Published in: Biological Invasions, volume 18, issue 4 (April 2016)


The last few decades have seen a growing number of species invasions globally, including many insect species.

In drosophilids, there are several examples of successful invasions, i.e. Zaprionus indianus and Drosophila subobscura some decades ago, but the most recent and prominent example is the invasion of Europe and North America by the pest species, Drosophila suzukii.

During the invasive process, species often encounter diverse environmental conditions that they must respond to, either through rapid genetic adaptive shifts or phenotypic plasticity, or by some combination of both. Consequently, invasive species constitute powerful models for investigating various questions related to the adaptive processes that underpin successful invasions.

In this paper, we highlight how Drosophila have been and remain a valuable model group for understanding these underlying adaptive processes, and how they enable insight into key questions in invasion biology, including how quickly adaptive responses can occur when species are faced with new environmental conditions.


Gibert P, Hill M, Pascual M, Plantamp C, Terblanche JS, Yassin A, Sgrò, CM (2016) Drosophila as models to understand the adaptive process during invasion. Biological Invasions, 18:1089–1103 PDF DOI