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Individual-based eco-evolutionary models for understanding adaptation in changing seas


Xuereb, Amanda et al. (2022), Individual-based eco-evolutionary models for understanding adaptation in changing seas, Dryad, Dataset,


As climate change threatens species’ persistence, predicting the potential for species to adapt to rapidly changing environments is imperative for the development of effective conservation strategies. Eco-evolutionary individual-based models (IBMs) can be useful tools for achieving this objective. We performed a literature review to identify studies that apply these tools in marine systems. Our survey suggested that this is an emerging area of research fueled in part by developments in modeling frameworks that allow simulation of increasingly complex ecological, genetic, and demographic processes. The studies we identified illustrate the promise of this approach and advance our understanding of the capacity for adaptation to outpace climate change. These studies also identify limitations of current models and opportunities for further development. We discuss three main topics that emerged across studies: 1) effects of genetic architecture and non-genetic responses on adaptive potential; 2) capacity for gene flow to facilitate rapid adaptation; and 3) impacts of multiple stressors on persistence. Finally, we perform a set of simple simulations to demonstrate the approach and provide a framework for users to explore eco-evolutionary IBMs as tools for understanding adaptation in changing seas.


Connectivity probabilities for generating the connectivity matrix in Figure 1 (original data from Xue et al. 2008).

Present surface temperature and projections based on CMIP5 of the IPCC (RCP 8.5) used in our SLiM simulations can be freely accessed at (model scripts are available here: