In June 2011 the French Ecological Society has supported a conference on Evolutionary Rescue hosted in Montpellier. The aim of this conference was to synthesize recent advances improving our understanding of the role of evolutionary mechanisms in species responses to global change and of how these mechanisms may affect biodiversity patterns.

The video of this conference will be realeased online on our website during the month of october 2011 (one topic every week). The video are open to comments and we hope you will  participate to this very original experience of « virtual » conference by posting your questions. The authors will try to respond online, this is a unique opportunity to bring the scientific discussion beyong the limit of a one day conference !

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Please post your comments in the « Ecrire un commentaire » section at the end of this page. Make clear in your question to what talk you are refering to.

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Topic one: A race between decline and extinction

Richard Gomulkiewicz (Washington State University, USA)

Evolutionary rescue and genetic constraints 

The genetic properties of a population can enable or constrain evolutionary change, but they can also influence its ability to persist. In this talk, we develop quantitative ways to characterize genetic constraints that account simultaneously for the failure of a population to evolve or to persist. To illustrate, we show how to define constraints on the adaptive evolution of quantitative traits (in terms of critical amounts of additive-genetic variance) that account for a population’s capacity to persist in a changed environment where it risks extinction unless it can evolve.

Graham Bell (McGill University, Canada)

Adaptation to lethal stress 

Populations may become adapted to conditions that would be lethal to their ancestors. This process must involve the correlated response to adaptation at sublethal levels of stress. I shall review the experimental support for this mechanism and discuss the roles of population size, standing variation, mutation supply rate and the rate of environmental degradation.

Anne Charmantier and Olivier Gimenez (CEFE, France)

Evolutionary responses to climate change in nature and their demographic consequences 

The evolutionary-demography approach to study individual and population responses to global change has recently benefitted from various methodological advances, and from long-term projects with individual monitoring. In this talk, we will provide an illustrated overview of a/ advances in evolutionary ecology where repeated individual records have been used to explore phenotypic as well as genetic changes in bird phenology, as a response to climate change; b/ demographic mechanisms at the multi-population scale that underlie patterns of population dynamics (and, ultimately, range dynamics) and how these processes are affected by climate change; and c/ the growing interface between the two previous fields: we will illustrate how recent work by colleagues now makes available a framework integrating ecological and evolutionary dynamics in stochastic environments to make a link between phenotypic and demographic responses to environmental change.

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Organisation : Ophélie Ronce , Nicolas Mouquet and Fadela Tamoune

Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution – CNRS
UMR 5554 – Université de Montpellier II – CC 065
34095 MONTPELLIER Cedex 05

email organisation : evorescu (at)

Conference website.

This event was organized with the help of: