Extended phenotypes: buffers or amplifiers of climate change?

H. Arthur Woods, Sylvain Pincebourde, Michael E. Dillon, John S. Terblanche

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Historic approaches to understanding biological responses to climate change have viewed climate as something external that happens to organisms. Organisms, however, at least partially influence their own climate experience by moving within local mosaics of microclimates. Such behaviors are increasingly being incorporated into models of species distributions and climate sensitivity. Less attention has focused on how organisms alter microclimates via extended phenotypes: phenotypes that extend beyond the organismal surface, including structures that are induced or built. We argue that predicting the consequences of climate change for organismal performance and fitness will depend on understanding the expression and consequences of extended phenotypes, the microclimatic niches they generate, and the power of plasticity and evolution to shape those niches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-898
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • ecosystem engineer
  • environmental stress
  • microclimate
  • niche construction


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