Climate-mediated adaptation after mainland colonization of an ancestrally subtropical island lizard, Anolis carolinensis

S. C. Campbell-Staton, S. V. Edwards, J. B. Losos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Climate-mediated evolution plays an integral role in species migration and range expansion. Gaining a clearer understanding of how climate affects demographic history and adaptation provides fundamental insight into the generation of intra- and interspecific diversity. In this study, we used the natural colonization of the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) from the island of Cuba to mainland North America to investigate the role of evolution at the niche, phenotypic and genetic levels after long-term establishment in a novel environment. The North American green anole occupies a broader range of thermal habitats than its Cuban sister species. We documented niche expansion in the mainland green anole, mediated primarily through adaptation to winter temperatures. Common garden experiments strongly suggest a genetic component to differences in thermal performance found between populations in different temperature regimes. Analysis of geographic variation in population structure based on 53 486 single nucleotide variants from RAD loci revealed increased genetic isolation between populations in different vs. similar thermal environments. Selection scans for environment-allele correlations reveal 19 genomic loci of known function that may have played a role in the physiological adaptation of A. carolinensis to temperate environments on the mainland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2168-2180
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • adaptation
  • ecological genetics
  • evolutionary physiology


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