Transgenerational plasticity mitigates the impact of global warming to offspring sex ratios

Donelson, Jennifer M., and Munday, Philip L. (2015) Transgenerational plasticity mitigates the impact of global warming to offspring sex ratios. Global Change Biology, 21 (8). pp. 2954-2962.

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Abstract

Global warming poses a threat to organisms with temperature-dependent sex determination because it can affect operational sex ratios. Using a multigenerational experiment with a marine fish, we provide the first evidence that parents developing from early life at elevated temperatures can adjust their offspring gender through nongenetic and nonbehavioural means. However, this adjustment was not possible when parents reproduced, but did not develop, at elevated temperatures. Complete restoration of the offspring sex ratio occurred when parents developed at 1.5 °C above the present-day average temperature for one generation. However, only partial improvement in the sex ratio occurred at 3.0 °C above average conditions, even after two generations, suggesting a limitation to transgenerational plasticity when developmental temperature is substantially increased. This study highlights the potential for transgenerational plasticity to ameliorate some impacts of climate change and that development from early life may be essential for expression of transgenerational plasticity in some traits.

Item ID: 38114
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: acclimation; climate change; global warming; operational sex ratio; plasticity; temperature sex determination
Funders: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies), CSIRO Climate Change Adaptation Flagship
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 23:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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