Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change

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Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 1033-1036
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8097
  • Fig. 1 Clinal variation in winter color phenotypes for six mammal species.

    Colder colors (e.g., blue) indicate higher probability of winter white morphs (denoted by photo of a winter white snowshoe hare), warmer colors (e.g., orange) indicate higher probability of winter brown morphs (denoted by brown snowshoe hare), and greenish/yellow colors indicate polymorphic populations (see figs. S1 to S8 for larger versions of these maps and for maps of Arctic fox and mountain hare). [Photo credits: L. S. Mills research archives]

  • Fig. 2 Change in probability of being winter white as snow duration changes for four molting species.

    Species are Japanese hare, dark blue; white-tailed jackrabbit, light blue; least weasel, yellow; and long-tailed weasel, red. The central colored area with both winter white and brown animals represents our broadly defined polymorphic zone (i.e., 20% < P[winter white] < 80%).

  • Fig. 3 Regions with polymorphisms in winter coat color for multiple species.

    (A to D) Where polymorphic zones overlap for two (red) or three (brown) species, derived from predictive maps for eight species (see Fig. 1 and figs. S1 to S8). Polymorphic zones defined broadly as 20% < P[winter white] < 80% in (A) North America and (B) Eurasia. (C) Polymorphic zones defined more narrowly as 40% < P[winter white] < 60%; found only in (A) North America and (D) Great Britain. (E) Example of camouflage mismatch (least weasel). In polymorphic zones, as snow duration decreases, mismatched winter white morphs would be selected against in favor of the sympatric winter brown morphs. [Photo credit: Karol Zub]

  • Table 1 The 21 vertebrate species known to exhibit seasonal coat color molt.

    The first eight species are those with sufficient sample sizes of georeferenced winter color phenotype to model range-wide distribution of color morphs. The other 13 species are those known to undergo seasonal coat color change in at least some populations. Species taxonomy follows the IUCN red list.

    FAMILY/SpeciesOrigin of sampled specimens
    MuseumsLiterature, citizen science, trapping records, etc.TOTAL
    Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)335132467
    White-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii)13014144
    Mountain hare (Lepus timidus)14974223
    Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus)85462
    Short-tailed weasel/stoat/ermine (Mustela erminea)62332655
    Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)44436480
    Least weasel (Mustela nivalis)60630636
    Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)262046
    OVERALL SAMPLE SIZE:23213922713
    MURIDAE: Siberian (Djungarian) hamster (Phodopus sungorus); Collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus); Wrangel Island collared lemming (Dicrostonyx vinogradovi); Palearctic collared lemming (Dicrostonyx torquatus); Ungava collared lemming (Dicrostonyx hudsonius); Richardson’s collared lemming (Dicrostonyx richardsoni); Nelson’s collared lemming (Dicrostonyx nelsoni); Ogilvie mountains collared lemming (Dicrostonyx nunatakensis)
    LEPORIDAE: Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus), Alaskan hare (Lepus othus)
    TETRAONIDAE: Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta); White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus); Willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)

Supplementary Materials

  • Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change

    L. Scott Mills, Eugenia V. Bragina, Alexander V. Kumar, Marketa Zimova, Diana J. R. Lafferty, Jennifer Feltner, Brandon M. Davis, Klaus Hackländer, Paulo C. Alves, Jeffrey M. Good, José Melo-Ferreira, Andreas Dietz, Alexei V. Abramov, Natalia Lopatina, Kairsten Fay

    Materials/Methods, Supplementary Text, Tables, Figures, and/or References

    Download Supplement
    • Materials and Methods
    • Figs. S1 to S8
    • Table S1 to S6
    • References

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