Adaptive thermal plasticity enhances sperm and egg performance in a model insect

Vasudeva, Ramakrishnan ORCID:, Sutter, Andreas, Sales, Kris, Dickinson, Matthew, Lumley, Alyson and Gage, Matthew (2019) Adaptive thermal plasticity enhances sperm and egg performance in a model insect. eLife, 8. ISSN 2050-084X

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Rising and more variable global temperatures pose a challenge for biodiversity, with reproduction and fertility being especially sensitive to heat. Here, we assessed the potential for thermal adaptation in sperm and egg function using Tribolium flour beetles, a warm-temperate-tropical insect model. Following temperature increases through adult development, we found opposing gamete responses, with males producing shorter sperm and females laying larger eggs. Importantly, this gamete phenotypic plasticity was adaptive: thermal translocation experiments showed that both sperm and eggs produced in warmer conditions had superior reproductive performance in warmer environments, and vice versa for cooler production conditions and reproductive environments. In warmer environments, gamete plasticity enabled males to double their reproductive success, and females could increase offspring production by one-third. Our results reveal exciting potential for sensitive but vital traits within reproduction to handle increasing and more variable thermal regimes in the natural environment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive gametic plasticity,tribolium,temperature,global climate change,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 09:30
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 03:30
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.49452


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