Publication: InSTREAM-Gen: Modelling eco-evolutionary dynamics of trout
populations under anthropogenic environmental change
Full text at PDC
Railsback, Steven F.
Advisors (or tutors)
Current rates of environmental change are exceeding the capacity of many populations to adapt to new conditions and thus avoid demographic collapse and ultimate extinction. In particular, cold-water freshwater fish species are predicted to experience strong selective pressure from climate change and a wide range of interacting anthropogenic stressors in the near future. To implement effective management and conservation measures, it is crucial to quantify the maximum rate of change that cold-water freshwater fish populations can withstand. Here, we present a spatially explicit eco-genetic individual-based model, inSTREAM-Gen, to predict the eco-evolutionary dynamics of stream-dwelling trout under anthropogenic environmental change. The model builds on a well-tested demographic model, which includes submodels of river dynamics, bioenergetics, and adaptive habitat selection, with a new genetic module that allows exploration of genetic and life-history adaptations to new environments. The genetic module models the transmission of two key traits, size at emergence and maturity size threshold. We parameterized the model for a brown trout(Salmo trutta L.) population atthe warmest edge ofits range to validate it and analyze its sensitivity to parameters under contrasting thermal profiles. To illustrate potential applications of the model, we analyzed the population’s demographic and evolutionary dynamics under scenarios of (1) climate change-induced warming, and (2) warming plus flow reduction resulting from climate and land use change, compared to (3) a baseline of no environmental change. The model predicted severe declines in density and biomass under climate warming. These declines were lower than expected at range margins because of evolution towards smaller size at both emergence and maturation compared to the natural evolution under the baseline conditions. Despite stronger evolutionary responses, declining rates were substantially larger under the combined warming and flow reduction scenario, leading to a high probability of population extinction over contemporary time frames. Therefore, adaptive responses could not prevent extinction under high rates of environmental change. Our model demonstrates critical elements of next generation ecological modelling aiming at predictions in a changing world as it accounts for spatial and temporal resource heterogeneity, while merging individual behaviour and bioenergetics with microevolutionary adaptation.