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Editorial overview: Global change: integrating ecological and evolutionary consequences across time and space

Abstract : Human activities have changed ecosystems at local and global scales. These changes include altered climate, habitat loss and fragmentation, species invasions, land use change, pollution, and pesticides [1]. These changes threatens many species and affects biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services through multiple side effects [2, 3, 4]. Insects are of major importance for ecology, economy, health, and alimentation and their populations are declining worldwide [5]. Understanding the impacts of global change drivers on the diversity, abundance, and functions of insect species is thus an urgent scientific and societal challenge. However, addressing this challenge is difficult for several reasons. First, species are embedded within communities and the effects of global change drivers on a single species thus depend on their direct and indirect effects mediated by species interactions [6,7]. Second, evolutionary, epigenetic and plastic phenotypic responses to environmental change affect the spatial and temporal distributions of phenotypes which can modulate the speed of evolutionary adaptation as well as species' functions and interactions [8, 9, 10]. Third, humans can strongly influence species dispersal by fragmenting natural habitats or mediating insect dispersal trough long distances [11,12]. Change in insect dispersal can have important consequences on, for instance, their meta-population dynamics or the establishment of exotic invasive species. Fourth, global change drivers can interact in space and time and their combined effects can be additive, synergistic or antagonist, which adds another layer of difficulty when addressing or predicting multiple driver effects on insects [13]. We propose that analysing issues of global change from a perspective addressing these fourth points will lead to a fully integrative understanding of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of global change across time and space. However, developing a comprehensive understanding of how all this plays out remains an important research frontier. We thus have assembled 12 contributions that each tackle a component of what we believe is needed to integrate the ecological and evolutionary consequences of global change across time and space. We hope that this issue will advance a new, concerted research effort that can help developing a more comprehensive perspective on how global change affects ecological systems. Such comprehensive perspective is certainly needed to preserve biodiversity, manage natural resources, and maintain key ecosystem services such as pollination and the control of agricultural pests and vector diseases.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 6:40:26 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 3:44:24 PM

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Arnaud Sentis, Nicolas Desneux. Editorial overview: Global change: integrating ecological and evolutionary consequences across time and space. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 2019, 35, pp.3-6. ⟨10.1016/j.cois.2019.09.006⟩. ⟨hal-02609876⟩

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