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As far as we are aware, however, the effect of evolutionary constraints on how species track shifting climate has so far remained largely unexplored.
Here, we used range shifts documented for stream fish to assess whether phylogenetic patterns in shifts at the leading and trailing edges along an altitudinal gradient resulted from conservatism of the traits involved in species response to climate change.
Indeed, morphological traits linked to dispersal ability (for example, mobility through body size) are commonly conserved along the phylogeny, whereas several behavioural and ecological traits related to establishment success (for example, degree of habitat specialization should decrease habitat available for the species) are thought to be more evolutionarily labile.
Consequently, we expected to find little or no phylogenetic clustering of range expansion at the leading edge.
Nonetheless, this relationship appeared further blurred by the influence of other characteristics, as outlined by the criss-crossing of colours along the internal branches of the tree (Fig. Finally, shifts were also related, albeit weakly, to mobility PC1 and TSMModel-averaged slope regression coefficients standardized to z-scores for phylogenetic generalized least squares relating shifts at (a) the lower and (b) the upper altitudinal limit to species traits for 32 freshwater fish species. High values of mobility PC1 and mobility PC2 indicate a greater mobility at larval and adult stages, respectively.Understanding climate-induced range shifts is crucial for biodiversity conservation.However, no general consensus has so far emerged about the mechanisms involved and the role of phylogeny in shaping species responses has been poorly explored.Here, we investigate whether species traits and their underlying phylogenetic constraints explain altitudinal shifts at the trailing and leading edges of stream fish species ranges.We demonstrate that these shifts are related to dissimilar mechanisms: whereas range retractions show some support for phylogenetic clustering due to a high level of conservatism in thermal safety margins, range expansions are underpinned by both evolutionarily conserved and labile traits, notably trophic position and life-history strategy, hence decreasing the strength of phylogenetic signal.
Stream fishes provide ideal model organisms for studying climate-induced range shifts because of their ectothermic physiology, relatively short generation times and constrained distribution within hydrographic networks, thus promoting directional shifts.