Extreme events can skew evolution in a way that helps drives small, vulnerable populations to extinction, and global warming is making such events more common

Extreme events can skew evolution in a way that helps drives small, vulnerable populations to extinction, and global warming is making such events more common

By Michael Le Page
Tawny owls (Strix aluco) in Ähtäri animal park in Finland are evolving in response to climate change
RJH_IMAGES / Alamy
Evolution normally helps organisms positively adapt to changing circumstances, but climate change may turn that on its head. A model of how some species could rapidly evolve in response to increasingly extreme events, such as storms, has found that mutations could actually drive some small, vulnerable populations to extinction.
This is because traits that help animals or plants that survive extreme events can be a disadvantage in normal situations. “By the next generation, the environment has already gone …

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