Thermal conditions during early life influence seasonal maternal strategies in the three-spined stickleback

Kim, S.-Y., Metcalfe, N. B. , da Silva, A. and Velando, A. (2017) Thermal conditions during early life influence seasonal maternal strategies in the three-spined stickleback. BMC Ecology, 17, 34. (doi: 10.1186/s12898-017-0144-x) (PMID:29126411) (PMCID:PMC5681783)

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Background: Conditions experienced by a female during early life may afect her reproductive strategies and maternal investment later in life. This efect of early environmental conditions is a potentially important mechanism by which animals can compensate for the negative impacts of climate change. In this study, we experimentally tested whether three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) change their maternal strategy according to environmen‑ tal temperatures experienced earlier in life. We studied maternal investment from a life-history perspective because females are expected to adjust their reproductive strategy in relation to their current and future reproductive returns as well as ofspring ftness. Results: F1 families were reared in control and elevated winter temperatures and their reproductive trajectories were studied when returned to common conditions. Females that had experienced the warm winter treatment (n = 141) had a lower fecundity and reduced breeding and total lifespan compared to the control individuals (n = 159). Whereas the control females tended to produce their heaviest and largest clutches in their frst reproductive attempt, the warm-acclimated females invested less in their frst clutch, but then produced increasingly heavy clutches over the course of the breeding season. Egg mass increased with clutch number at a similar rate in the two groups. The warm-acclimated females increased the investment of carotenoids in the frst and last clutches of the season. Thus, any transgenerational efects of the maternal thermal environment on ofspring phenotype may be mediated by the allocation of antioxidants into eggs but not by egg size. Conclusions: Our results indicate that conditions experienced by females during juvenile life have a profound efect on life-time maternal reproductive strategies. The temperature-induced changes in maternal strategy may be due to constraints imposed by the higher energetic costs of a warm environment, but it is possible that they allow the ofspring to compensate for higher energetic costs and damage when they face the same thermal stress as did their mothers.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competi‑ tividad (CGL2014-60291-JIN and CGL2015-69338-C2-1-P); NBM was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant (322784).
Keywords:Carotenoid, climate change, life-history, maternal effect, phenotypic plasticity.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Kim, S.-Y., Metcalfe, N. B., da Silva, A., and Velando, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:BMC Ecology
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1472-6785
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Ecology 17: 34
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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