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Costs and limits of phenotypic plasticity in island populations of the common frog Rana temporaria under divergent selection pressures
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
2009 (English)In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 63, no 6, 1508-1518 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Costs and limits are assumed to be the major constraints on the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. However, despite their expected importance, they have been surprisingly hard to find in natural populations. It has therefore been argued that natural selection might have removed high-cost genotypes in all populations. However, if costs of plasticity are linked to the degree of plasticity expressed, then high costs of plasticity would only be present in populations where increased plasticity is under selection. We tested this hypothesis by investigating costs and limits of adaptive phenotypic plasticity in development time in a common garden study of island populations of the common frog Rana temporaria, which have varying levels of development time and phenotypic plasticity. Costs of plasticity were only found in populations with high-plastic genotypes, whereas the populations with the most canalized genotypes instead had a cost of canalization. Moreover, individuals displaying the most extreme phenotypes also were the most plastic ones, which mean we found no limits of plasticity. This suggests that costs of plasticity increase with increased level of plasticity in the populations, and therefore costs of plasticity might be more commonly found in high-plastic populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , 2009. Vol. 63, no 6, 1508-1518 p.
Keyword [en]
Costs of plasticity, development time, limits of plasticity, pool permanence, size at metamorphosis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-23247DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00647.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-23247DiVA: diva2:222352
Available from: 2009-06-08 Created: 2009-06-08 Last updated: 2017-12-13
In thesis
1. Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in island populations of Rana temporaria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in island populations of Rana temporaria
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of a genotype to express different phenotypes in different environments. Despite its common occurrence, few have investigated differences in plasticity between populations, the selection pressures responsible for it, and costs and constraints associated with it. In this thesis, I investigated this by studying local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity in populations of the common frog Rana temporaria, inhibiting islands with different pool types (temporary, permanent or both). The tadpoles develop in these pools, and have to finish metamorphosis before the pool dries out.

I found that the tadpoles were locally adapted both in development time and in phenotypic plasticity of development time. Tadpoles from islands with temporary pools had a genetically shorter development time than tadpoles from islands with permanent pools. The population differentiation in development time, estimated as QST, was larger than the population differentiation in neutral molecular markers (FST), which suggest that divergent selection among the populations is responsible for the differentiation. Moreover, tadpoles from islands with more variation in pool drying regimes had higher phenotypic plasticity in development time than tadpoles from islands with only one pool type present. Interestingly, increased migration among populations did not select for increased plasticity, rather it was the local environmental variation that was important. This adaptation has occurred over a short time scale, as the islands are less than 300 generations old.

In temporary pools, it is adaptive to finish development before the pool dries out. This could be achieved by entering the metamorphosis at a smaller size, as a smaller size takes shorter time to reach. However, I found that there is a minimum threshold size below which tadpoles’ cannot enter metamorphosis, and that there had been no evolution of this threshold size in populations living in temporary environments. That suggests that this developmental threshold is tightly linked to physiological constraints in the developmental process.

Despite their expected importance as constrains on the evolution of plasticity, costs of plasticity are often not found in nature.  However, theories of why they are absent have not been tested empirically. In this thesis, I show that fitness costs of phenotypic plasticity are only found in populations with genotypes expressing high levels of phenotypic plasticity, while in populations with low-plastic genotypes, I find costs of not being plastic. This suggests that costs of plasticity increase with increased level of plasticity in the population, and that might be a reason why costs of plasticity are hard to detect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Umeå University, 2009. 58 p.
Keyword
Costs of plasticity, Developmental threshold, FST, Local adaptation, Phenotypic plasticity, Pool drying, QST
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26936 (URN)978-91-7264-836-4 (ISBN)
Distributor:
Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap, 901 87, Umeå
Public defence
2009-11-27, KB3B1 (Stora Hörsalen), KBC, Umeå University, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-11-06 Created: 2009-11-03 Last updated: 2012-01-31Bibliographically approved

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