Adaptive responses of Alpine marmots to climate change

(funded by Marie Curie and AXA Research Fund)

Reporting, understanding and predicting the response of biodiversity to climate change has become an active and major field of research to support the development of proactive environmental management strategies. The aim of this project is to explore from genotype to populations the causes and consequences of climate change on a hibernating species endemic to European Alps: the Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota). First, we will identify populations’ responses to environmental variations using an extensive demographic database (1990-2012). Second, we will determine the physiological mechanisms that drive life history processes and, consequently, population dynamics using experimental and observational field data. Finally, we will determine the balance between phenotypic plastic and evolutionary responses to assess how climate change acts as a new and major selection force. Overall, by integrating these mechanisms into recently developed trait-based models of population dynamics, we will provide solid predictions on this model species’ response to environmental change and geographic range that will be used for building objective and accurate conservation strategies for the fragile biodiversity of the Alps.

In collaboration with: