Measuring evolutionary responses to global warming: Cautionary lessons from Drosophila

Francisco Rodríguez-Trelles, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


1. Understanding evolutionary responses to global climate warming can be dauntingly complex. But, primarily, it requires careful quantification of rates of temporal change of biomonitors. 2. Long-term biomonitoring programs capitalize on traits for which there already exist retro-spective measurements. Those programs are thus faced with the decision as to the appropriate time to update historical records, especially in species whose gene frequencies cycle over the successive seasons. In these cases, the time during the year at which descendant populations are sampled needs to take into account effects of the lengthening growing season that can impose direct selection on specific genotypes and, concomitantly, indirect selection on photoperiodic response. 3. Standardising new and past collections by calendar date can lead to an overestimation of the magnitude of long-term responses to global warming; standardising by equivalent seasonal temperature conditions can lead to an underestimation of the magnitude of long-term responses to global warming. 4. The results of a recent monitoring study with Drosophila indicate that caution should be exercised in how the updating of historical records is used to quantify evolutionary responses to global warming. © 2009 The Royal Entomological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Bioindicators
  • Chromosomal inversions
  • Climate change
  • Historical records
  • Molecular markers
  • Photoperiod
  • Seasonal selection
  • Seasonality
  • Thermal selection


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