Phenotypic plasticity for desiccation resistance, climate change, and future species distributions: Will plasticity have much impact? Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractWhile species distribution models (SDMs) are widely used to predict the vulnerability of species to climate change, they do not explicitly indicate the extent to which plastic responses ameliorate climate change impacts. Here we use data on plastic responses of 32 species of Drosophila to desiccation stress to suggest that basal resistance, rather than adult hardening, is relatively more important in determining species differences in desiccation resistance and sensitivity to climate change. We go on to show, using the semimechanistic SDM CLIMEX, that the inclusion of plasticity has some impact on current species distributions and future vulnerability for widespread species but has little impact on the distribution of arguably more vulnerable tropically restricted species.

publication date

  • 2020