Perturbations in growth trajectory due to early diet affect age-related deterioration in performance

Lee, W.-S., Monaghan, P. and Metcalfe, N. B. (2016) Perturbations in growth trajectory due to early diet affect age-related deterioration in performance. Functional Ecology, 30(4), pp. 625-635. (doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12538) (PMID:27610000) (PMCID:PMC4994260)

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Fluctuations in early developmental conditions can cause changes in growth trajectories that subsequently affect the adult phenotype. Here, we investigated whether compensatory growth has long-term consequences for patterns of senescence. Using three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we show that a brief period of dietary manipulation in early life affected skeletal growth rate not only during the manipulation itself, but also during a subsequent compensatory phase when fish caught up in size with controls. However, this growth acceleration influenced swimming endurance and its decline over the course of the breeding season, with a faster decline in fish that had undergone faster growth compensation. Similarly, accelerated growth led to a more pronounced reduction in the breeding period (as indicated by the duration of sexual ornamentation) over the following two breeding seasons, suggesting faster reproductive senescence. Parallel experiments showed a heightened effect of accelerated growth on these age-related declines in performance if the fish were under greater time stress to complete their compensation prior to the breeding season. Compensatory growth led to a reduction in median life span of 12% compared to steadily growing controls. While life span was independent of the eventual adult size attained, it was negatively correlated with the age-related decline in swimming endurance and sexual ornamentation. These results, complementary to those found when growth trajectories were altered by temperature rather than dietary manipulations, show that the costs of accelerated growth can last well beyond the time over which growth rates differ and are affected by the time available until an approaching life-history event such as reproduction.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Monaghan, Professor Pat and Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Lee, W.-S., Monaghan, P., and Metcalfe, N. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Functional Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-2435
Published Online:29 August 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Functional Ecology 30(4): 625-635
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
613341Why is fast growth costly, and what are the consequences for offspring viability?Neil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/K00400X/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
545091ECOTELO - The ecological significance of telomere dynamics:environments, individuals and inheritancePatricia MonaghanEuropean Research Council (ERC)20100317/FP7-26RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED