Genomic signals of selection predict climate-driven population declines in a migratory bird

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Abstract

The ongoing loss of biodiversity caused by rapid climatic shifts requires accurate models for predicting species’ responses. Despite evidence that evolutionary adaptation could mitigate climate change impacts, evolution is rarely integrated into predictive models. Integrating population genomics and environmental data, we identified genomic variation associated with climate across the breeding range of the migratory songbird, yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia). Populations requiring the greatest shifts in allele frequencies to keep pace with future climate change have experienced the largest population declines, suggesting that failure to adapt may have already negatively affected populations. Broadly, our study suggests that the integration of genomic adaptation can increase the accuracy of future species distribution models and ultimately guide more effective mitigation efforts.

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