Insect Hybridization and Climate Change

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Global change, Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Insect, Hybridization

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Biological Sciences


Contemporary global change is altering ecosystems at an unprecedented pace and scale. This critical period is a crisis for biodiversity, but the perturbations caused by global environmental change also offer new opportunities to study the evolution of species boundaries—their persistence, formation, or collapse—over rapid evolutionary timescales. Increasing temperature means and fluctuations have the potential to alter gene flow between species through changes in species distributions, interactions, life history, and temperature-dependent behavior. This is particularly true for insects, whose geographic ranges, behaviors, and life history traits are temperature dependent. Here, we review the potential for climate change to influence gene flow and species boundaries between closely related insect species. We focus on studies that have tracked changes in climate and insect distributions and/or have evaluated temperature dependent reproductive barriers between species.

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