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Global warming will impact species in a number of ways, and it is important to know the extent to which natural populations can adapt to anthropogenic climate change by natural selection. Parallel microevolution within separate species can demonstrate natural selection, but several studies of homoplasy have not yet revealed examples of widespread parallel evolution in a generic radiation. Taking into account primary phylogeographic divisions, we investigate numerous quantitative traits (size, shape, scalation, colour pattern and hue) in anole radiations from the mountainous Lesser Antillean islands. Adaptation to climatic differences can lead to very pronounced differences between spatially close populations with all studied traits showing some evidence of parallel evolution. Traits from shape, scalation, pattern and hue (particularly the latter) show widespread evolutionary parallels within these species in response to altitudinal climate variation greater than extreme anthropogenic climate change predicted for 2080. This gives strong evidence of the ability to adapt to climate variation by natural selection throughout this radiation. As anoles can evolve very rapidly, it suggests anthropogenic climate change is likely to be less of a conservation threat than other factors, such as habitat loss and invasive species, in this, Lesser Antillean, biodiversity hot spot.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1030
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2015
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