Research models are evolving in response to the need for on-the-ground knowledge of climate change impacts on communities. Partnership between researcher and practitioner is vital for adaptive policy efforts. Transdisciplinary research teams present new opportunities by involving academics and local stakeholders, who actively conceive, enact, and apply research on adaptation and mitigation actions. In transdisciplinary research, stakeholders are also researchers.

Ecological partnerships, or mutualisms, are globally widespread, sustaining agriculture and biodiversity. Mutualisms evolve through the matching of functional traits between partners, such as tongue length of pollinators and flower tube depth of plants. Long-tongued pollinators specialize on flowers with deep corolla tubes, whereas shorter-tongued pollinators generalize across tube lengths. Losses of functional guilds because of shifts in global climate may disrupt mutualisms and threaten partner species.

The indigenous people of Greenland, the Inuit, have lived for a long time in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, including low annual temperatures, and with a specialized diet rich in protein and fatty acids, particularly omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). A scan of Inuit genomes for signatures of adaptation revealed signals at several loci, with the strongest signal located in a cluster of fatty acid desaturases that determine PUFA levels.

For many species, geographical ranges are expanding toward the poles in response to climate change, while remaining stable along range edges nearest the equator. Using long-term observations across Europe and North America over 110 years, we tested for climate change–related range shifts in bumblebee species across the full extents of their latitudinal and thermal limits and movements along elevation gradients.

Much study has been devoted to the possible causes of an apparent decrease in the upward trend of global surface temperatures since 1998, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the global warming “hiatus.” Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century.

In the race to develop an Ebola vaccine, a small cancer therapy company, NewLink Genetics, has been in the shadows of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a big pharma company with lots of experience and far deeper resources. But at a high-level meeting held by the World Health Organization on 23 October, it became clear that NewLink, which is based in Ames, Iowa, by next spring may have more vaccine on hand than GSK, which is based in the United Kingdom. NewLink's projections come with a major caveat: It all depends on dose.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak poses an alarming risk to the countries of West Africa and beyond. To assess the effectiveness of containment strategies, we developed a stochastic model of Ebola transmission between and within the general community, hospitals, and funerals, calibrated to incidence data from Liberia. We find that a combined approach of case isolation, contact tracing with quarantine and sanitary funeral practices must be implemented with utmost urgency in order to reverse the growth of the outbreak.

Two categories of evolutionary challenges result from escalating human impacts on the planet. The first arises from cancers, pathogens and pests that evolve too quickly, and the second from the inability of many valued species to adapt quickly enough. Applied evolutionary biology provides a suite of strategies to address these global challenges that threaten human health, food security, and biodiversity.

Understanding the response of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to global warming requires quantitative data on ENSO under different climate regimes. Here, we present a reconstruction of ENSO in the eastern tropical Pacific spanning the last 10 thousand years (ka) derived from oxygen isotopes in fossil mollusk shells from Peru. We find that ENSO variance was close to the modern level in the early Holocene and severely damped ~4-5 ka. In addition, ENSO variability was skewed toward cold events along coastal Peru 6.7-7.5 ka owing to a shift of warm anomalies toward the Central Pacific.

Tsetse flies are the sole vectors of human African trypanosomiasis throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Both sexes of adult tsetse feed exclusively on blood and contribute to disease transmission. Notable differences between tsetse and other disease vectors include obligate microbial symbioses, viviparous reproduction, and lactation. Here, we describe the sequence and annotation of the 366-megabase Glossina morsitans morsitans genome.