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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 4;107(18):8292-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913792107. Epub 2010 Apr 19.

Differences in spawning date between populations of common frog reveal local adaptation.

Author information

  • 1Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Population Biology, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 27;109(13):5134.


Phenotypic differences between populations often correlate with climate variables, resulting from a combination of environment-induced plasticity and local adaptation. Species comprising populations that are genetically adapted to local climatic conditions should be more vulnerable to climate change than those comprising phenotypically plastic populations. Assessment of local adaptation generally requires logistically challenging experiments. Here, using a unique approach and a large dataset (>50,000 observations from across Britain), we compare the covariation in temperature and first spawning dates of the common frog (Rana temporaria) across space with that across time. We show that although all populations exhibit a plastic response to temperature, spawning earlier in warmer years, between-population differences in first spawning dates are dominated by local adaptation. Given climate change projections for Britain in 2050-2070, we project that for populations to remain as locally adapted as contemporary populations will require first spawning date to advance by approximately 21-39 days but that plasticity alone will only enable an advance of approximately 5-9 days. Populations may thus face a microevolutionary and gene flow challenge to advance first spawning date by a further approximately 16-30 days over the next 50 years.

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