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  1. Abstract

    Interactions between natural selection and population dynamics are central to both evolutionary‐ecology and biological responses to anthropogenic change. Natural selection is often thought to incur a demographic cost that, at least temporarily, reduces population growth. However, hard and soft selection clarify that the influence of natural selection on population dynamics depends on ecological context. Under hard selection, an individual's fitness is independent of the population's phenotypic composition, and substantial population declines can occur when phenotypes are mismatched with the environment. In contrast, under soft selection, an individual's fitness is influenced by its phenotype relative to other interacting conspecifics. Soft selection generally influences which, but not how many, individuals survive and reproduce, resulting in little effect on population growth. Despite these important differences, the distinction between hard and soft selection is rarely considered in ecology. Here, we review and synthesize literature on hard and soft selection, explore their ecological causes and implications and highlight their conservation relevance to climate change, inbreeding depression, outbreeding depression and harvest. Overall, these concepts emphasise that natural selection and evolution may often have negligible or counterintuitive effects on population growth—underappreciated outcomes that have major implications in a rapidly changing world.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  3. Climate change and invasive species are major threats to native biodiversity, but few empirical studies have examined their combined effects at large spatial and temporal scales. Using 21,917 surveys collected over 30 years, we quantified the impacts of climate change on the past and future distributions of five interacting native and invasive trout species throughout the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. We found that the occupancy of native bull trout and cutthroat trout declined by 18 and 6%, respectively (1993–2018), and was predicted to decrease by an additional 39 and 16% by 2080. However, reasons for these occupancy reductions markedly differed among species: Climate-driven increases in water temperature and decreases in summer flow likely caused declines of bull trout, while climate-induced expansion of invasive species largely drove declines of cutthroat trout. Our results demonstrate that climate change can affect ecologically similar, co-occurring native species through distinct pathways, necessitating species-specific management actions. 
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