Plasticity to ocean warming is influenced by transgenerational, reproductive, and developmental exposure in a coral reef fish

Bernal, Moisés A., Ravasi, Timothy, Rodgers, Giverny G., Munday, Philip L., and Donelson, Jennifer M. (2022) Plasticity to ocean warming is influenced by transgenerational, reproductive, and developmental exposure in a coral reef fish. Evolutionary Applications, 15 (2). pp. 249-261.

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Global warming is expected to drive some ectothermic species beyond their thermal tolerance in upcoming decades. Phenotypic plasticity, via developmental or transgenerational acclimation, is a critical mechanism for compensation in the face of environmental change. Yet, it remains to be determined if the activation of beneficial phenotypes requires direct exposure throughout development, or if compensation can be obtained just through the experience of previous generations. In this study, we exposed three generations of a tropical damselfish to combinations of current-day (Control) and projected future (+1.5°C) water temperatures. Acclimation was evaluated with phenotypic (oxygen consumption, hepatosomatic index, physical condition) and molecular (liver gene expression) measurements of third-generation juveniles. Exposure of grandparents/parents to warm conditions improved the aerobic capacity of fish regardless of thermal conditions experienced afterwards, representing a true transgenerational effect. This coincided with patterns of gene expression related to inflammation and immunity seen in the third generation. Parental effects due to reproductive temperature significantly affected the physical condition and routine metabolic rate (oxygen consumption) of offspring, but had little impact on gene expression of the F3. Developmental temperature of juveniles, and whether they matched conditions during parental reproduction, had the largest influence on the liver transcriptional program. Using a combination of both phenotypic and molecular approaches, this study highlights how the conditions experienced by both previous and current generations can influence plasticity to global warming in upcoming decades.

Item ID: 74635
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1752-4571
Keywords: acclimation, aerobic metabolism, climate change, gene expression, phenotypic plasticity
Copyright Information: © 2021 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.
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 03:25
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310405 Evolutionary ecology @ 50%
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