Document Detail

Melanin-based colour polymorphism responding to climate change.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24700793     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Climate warming leads to a decrease in biodiversity. Organisms can deal with the new prevailing environmental conditions by one of two main routes, namely evolving new genetic adaptations or through phenotypic plasticity in order to modify behaviour and physiology. Melanin-based coloration has important functions in animals including a role in camouflage and thermoregulation, protection against UV-radiation and pathogens and, furthermore, genes involved in melanogenesis can pleiotropically regulate behaviour and physiology. In this paper, I review the current evidence that differently coloured individuals are differentially sensitive to climate change. Predicting which of dark or pale colour variants (or morphs) will be more penalized by climate change will depend on the adaptive function of melanism in each species as well as how the degree of coloration covaries with behaviour and physiology. For instance, because climate change leads to a rise in temperature and UV-radiation and dark coloration plays a role in UV-protection, dark individuals may be less affected from global warming if this phenomenon implies more solar radiation particularly in habitats of pale individuals. In contrast, as desertification increases, pale coloration may expand in those regions, whereas dark colorations may expand in regions where humidity is predicted to increase. Dark coloration may be also indirectly selected by climate warming because genes involved in the production of melanin pigments confer resistance to a number of stressful factors including those associated with climate warming. Furthermore, darker melanic individuals are commonly more aggressive than paler conspecifics, and hence they may better cope with competitive interactions due to invading species that expand their range in northern latitudes and at higher altitudes. To conclude, melanin may be a major component involved in adaptation to climate warming, and hence in animal populations melanin-based coloration is likely to change as an evolutionary or plastic response to climate warming. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Alexandre Roulin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-4-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  Global change biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1365-2486     ISO Abbreviation:  Glob Chang Biol     Publication Date:  2014 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-4-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9888746     Medline TA:  Glob Chang Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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