A look at the evolutionary response to climate change in the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) using whole-genome comparisons between historic and modern specimens from California. While introgression led genomes of neighboring E. traillii extimus populations (California and Arizona) to become more similar, the specific loci linked to climate shifted in a way consistent with climate adaptation rather than becoming more similar to those of neighboring populations. This study provides some of the first evidence of climate adaptation in a wild population of southwestern willow flycatchers. It also emphasizes the role of gene flow between populations in facilitating climate adaptation.

Turbek, S.P., Bossu, C., Rayne, C., Gruppi, C., Kus, B.E., Whitfield, M., Smith, T.B., Paxton, E.H., Bay, R.A. and Ruegg, K.C., 2023. Historical DNA reveals climate adaptation in an endangered songbird. Nature Climate Change, pp.1-7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-023-01696-3

Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-023-01696-3