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The Ecology and Evolution of Mimicry in a Changing World (EcoEvoMimic)
Start date: Jan 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Climate change is influencing the spatio-temporal distributions of a wide range of taxa. Where interacting species exhibit divergent climate-induced variation presence or abundance, the interactions between those species will also be affected. This research proposal will consider, for the first time, the effects of climate change on a mimicry system involving Hymenoptera and Syrphidae (Diptera). Both taxa are important pollinators, and both are currently in decline across much of their ranges. The EcoEvoMimic project will establish to what extent these taxa are being influenced by climate change, and how that will affect the interaction between the two groups, as well as providing experimental tests for the hypotheses that explain the evolution of this mimicry system. The project comprises a set of complementary comparative analyses and experimental approaches that will determine not only the patterns that are present in the ecological and evolutionary data, but also the processes by which those patterns arise. The project has a number of significant outputs, including (i) the quantification of the threat posed by climate change to two important, charismatic pollinator taxa, (ii) the first integration of wild bird, domestic chick, and computer game approaches to the study of mimicry, and (iii) the first consideration of the role of spatio-temporal decoupling in mimicry systems.

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