Genomic vulnerability to rapid climate warming in a tree species with a long generation time
- Journal Article
The ongoing increase in global temperature affects biodiversity, especially in mountain regions where climate change is exacerbated. As sessile, long‐lived organisms, trees are especially challenged in terms of adapting to rapid climate change. Here, we show that low rates of allele frequency shifts in Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra) occurring near the treeline result in high genomic vulnerability to future climate warming, presumably due to the species’ long generation time. Using exome sequencing data from adult and juvenile cohorts in the Swiss Alps, we found an average rate of allele frequency shift of 1.23 × 10−2/generation (i.e. 40 years) at presumably neutral loci, with similar rates for putatively adaptive loci associated with temperature (0.96 × 10−2/generation) and precipitation (0.91 × 10−2/generation). These recent shifts were corroborated by forward‐in‐time simulations at neutral and adaptive loci. Additionally, in juvenile trees at the colonisation front we detected alleles putatively beneficial under a future warmer and drier climate. Notably, the observed past rate of allele frequency shift in temperature‐associated loci was decidedly lower than the estimated average rate of 6.29 × 10−2/generation needed to match a moderate future climate scenario (RCP4.5). Our findings suggest that species with long generation times may have difficulty keeping up with the rapid climate change occurring in high mountain areas and thus are prone to local extinction in their current main elevation range. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Show more
Journal / seriesGlobal Change Biology
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAllele frequency shift; Alps; Climate change; Conifer; Ecological genomics; Genomic offset; Local adaptation; Risk of non-adaptedness
MoreShow all metadata