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Selection in a fluctuating environment leads to decreased genetic variation and facilitates the evolution of phenotypic plasticity
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1010-061X, E-ISSN 1420-9101, Vol. 25, no 7, 1275-1290 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Changes in the environment are expected to induce changes in the quantitative genetic variation, which influences the ability of a population to adapt to environmental change. Furthermore, environmental changes are not constant in time, but fluctuate. Here, we investigate the effect of rapid, continuous and/or fluctuating temperature changes in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus, using an evolution experiment followed by a split-brood experiment. In line with expectations, individuals responded in a plastic way and had an overall higher potential to respond to selection after a rapid change in the environment. After selection in an environment with increasing temperature, plasticity remained unchanged (or decreased) and environmental variation decreased, especially when fluctuations were added; these results were unexpected. As expected, the genetic variation decreased after fluctuating selection. Our results suggest that fluctuations in the environment have major impact on the response of a population to environmental change; in a highly variable environment with low predictability, a plastic response might not be beneficial and the response is genetically and environmentally canalized resulting in a low potential to respond to selection and low environmental sensitivity. Interestingly, we found greater variation for phenotypic plasticity after selection, suggesting that the potential for plasticity to evolve is facilitated after exposure to environmental fluctuations. Our study highlights that environmental fluctuations should be considered when investigating the response of a population to environmental change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 25, no 7, 1275-1290 p.
Keyword [en]
canalization, environmental change, environmental sensitivity, experimental evolution, fluctuating temperature, gene by environment interaction, genetic correlation, genetic variation, insects, phenotypic plasticity
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-159279DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02512.xISI: 000305130800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-159279DiVA: diva2:443659
Available from: 2011-09-26 Created: 2011-09-26 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Quantitative Trait Evolution in a Changing Environment in a Seed Beetle
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quantitative Trait Evolution in a Changing Environment in a Seed Beetle
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the last decades the climate has been changing more rapidly than in the preceding periods. This is for instance characterized by an increase in temperature. Interestingly, such changes in the environment are not necessarily constant over time as they often show high levels of fluctuation. Organisms are exposed to these changes and respond to them and a recent theoretical model predicts that fluctuations in the environment are important for populations’ response to climate change. The aim of this thesis is to investigate how populations respond to a changing environment, including fluctuations. My thesis is based on the previously mentioned theoretical model and I used a suite of laboratory experiments on the seed beetle Callsosobruchus maculatus, to test the model predictions in a quantitative genetic framework. First, I assessed the genetic architecture of several life history and morphological traits in order to verify that there is sufficient additive genetic variation for the population to respond to changes in the environment. Second, I tested the detailed model predictions explicitly, by investigating whether different types of environmental fluctuations matter for a population’s response. Third, I investigated changes in quantitative genetic variation after i) a rapid shift in temperature and ii) long term selection under increasing temperature including fluctuations. Fourth, I concentrated on sex differences in response to temperature, and finally, I assessed the relative importance of genetic and nongenetic inheritance for traits that differ in their plastic response to a change in the environment. I found that environmental fluctuations are highly important for a population’s response to environmental change. I could detect changes in a set of quantitative genetic parameters, suggesting that a population’s potential to respond to selection, environmental sensitivity and the evolution of phenotypic plasticity are affected by the selective past. I also found that sexes differ in additive genetic variation and plasticity and that parental effects may play an important role in the evolutionary process. Therefore, future studies would benefit greatly from considering details of the selective past and especially environmental fluctuations during attempts to predict how populations respond to a changing environment, particularly with regards to climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 40 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 858
Keyword
quantitative trait, genetic variance, environmental change, temperature, seed beetle, sexual dimorphism, plasticity, inheritance
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-159284 (URN)978-91-554-8169-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-12, Zootissalen, EBC, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-10-20 Created: 2011-09-26 Last updated: 2011-11-04Bibliographically approved

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Hallsson, Lára R.Björklund, Mats

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