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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Oct 12;365(1555):3149-60. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0142.

Why does phenology drive species distribution?

Author information

1
Equipe BIOFLUX, Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive-CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 05, France. isabelle.chuine@cefe.cnrs.fr

Abstract

Despite the numerous studies which have been conducted during the past decade on species ranges and their relationship to the environment, our understanding of how environmental conditions shape species distribution is still far from complete. Yet, some process-based species distribution models have been able to simulate plants and insects distribution at a global scale. These models strongly rely on the completion of the annual cycle of the species and therefore on their accomplished phenology. In particular, they have shown that the northern limit of species' ranges appears to be caused mainly by the inability to undergo full fruit maturation, while the southern limit appears to be caused by the inability to flower or unfold leaves owing to a lack of chilling temperatures that are necessary to break bud dormancy. I discuss here why phenology is a key adaptive trait in shaping species distribution using mostly examples from plant species, which have been the most documented. After discussing how phenology is involved in fitness and why it is an adaptive trait susceptible to evolve quickly in changing climate conditions, I describe how phenology is related to fitness in species distribution process-based models and discuss the fate of species under climate change scenarios using model projections and experimental or field studies from the literature.

PMID:
20819809
PMCID:
PMC2981946
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2010.0142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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