Sex- and time-specific parental effects of warming on reproduction and offspring quality in a coral reef fish

Spinks, Rachel K., Bonzi, Lucrezia C., Ravasi, Timothy, Munday, Philip L., and Donelson, Jennifer M. (2021) Sex- and time-specific parental effects of warming on reproduction and offspring quality in a coral reef fish. Evolutionary Applications, 14 (4). pp. 1145-1158.

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Global warming can disrupt reproduction or lead to fewer and poorer quality offspring, owing to the thermally sensitive nature of reproductive physiology. However, phenotypic plasticity may enable some animals to adjust the thermal sensitivity of reproduction to maintain performance in warmer conditions. Whether elevated temperature affects reproduction may depend on the timing of exposure to warming and the sex of the parent exposed. We exposed male and female coral reef damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) during development, reproduction or both life stages to an elevated temperature (+1.5 degrees C) consistent with projected ocean warming and measured reproductive output and newly hatched offspring performance relative to pairs reared in a present-day control temperature. We found female development in elevated temperature increased the probability of breeding, but reproduction ceased if warming continued to the reproductive stage, irrespective of the male's developmental experience. Females that developed in warmer conditions, but reproduced in control conditions, also produced larger eggs and hatchlings with greater yolk reserves. By contrast, male development or pairs reproducing in higher temperature produced fewer and poorer quality offspring. Such changes may be due to alterations in sex hormones or an endocrine stress response. In nature, this could mean female fish developing during a marine heatwave may have enhanced reproduction and produce higher quality offspring compared with females developing in a year of usual thermal conditions. However, male development during a heatwave would likely result in reduced reproductive output. Furthermore, the lack of reproduction from an average increase in temperature could lead to population decline. Our results demonstrate how the timing of exposure differentially influences females and males and how this translates to effects on reproduction and population sustainability in a warming world.

Item ID: 66166
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1752-4571
Keywords: climate change, developmental plasticity, maternal effects, paternal effects, phenotypic plasticity, timing of exposure
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Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Spinks, Rachel K. (2021) Phenotypic plasticity to warming in coral reef fishes: the importance of sex and exposure timing within and between generations. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation (SWR), Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Projects and Grants: KAUST CRG3 2278
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2021 18:38
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 25%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310406 Evolutionary impacts of climate change @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 25%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190504 Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts) @ 35%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190507 Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts) @ 35%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 30%
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