Our world is amazingly heterogeneous; from open landscapes to closed forests, from lowlands to highlands, and from arid plains to swamps. Different species adapt to these different conditions and perform best in that specific environment. But just being adapted to one condition is not enough as the world is also incredibly dynamic, both in space and time. Biotic interactions within and among species are contributing to the complexity, and the interactions with the bacteria inside the organisms are making the struggle to survive even more puzzling. 

If species are not able to cope with environmental changes through phenotypic plasticity or by searching for suitable habitat, they are challenged to genetically adapt to these novel conditions to avoid extinction. This adaptive evolution can give rise to speciation events, which increase biological diversity. As diversity is known to be important for a variety of ecosystem services, gaining insight into local adaptation and in the processes influencing it are more important than ever in a world facing global change.

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© 2024 Karen Bisschop
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