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The evolution of Daphnia pulex in a temporally varying environment

  • SAMUEL M. SCHEINER (a1) and LEV Yu YAMPOLSKY (a1) (a2)

Abstract

We investigated three aspects of adaptation to variable environments in Daphnia pulex (Cladocera: Crustacea): (1) effects of temporal variation on the evolution of phenotypic plasticity ; (2) plasticity in sexual versus asexual lineages; (3) maintenance of genetic variation in variable environments. We performed a 72-day quasi-natural selection experiment comparing three patterns of variation: constant temperatures, varying but predictable temperature change, and unpredictable temperature change. All populations were begun with an identical array of 34 clones. During selection clonal variation declined in all populations and different patterns of environmental variation had little effect on amounts of genetic variation. Sexual and asexual lineages differed in size and growth rate, but did not differ in amounts of plasticity or in adaptation to variable environments. The primary target of selection was the Malthusian parameter (r) and life history traits of development time, offspring size and offspring number. The heritability of plasticity was generally lower than trait heritability. Because of this difference, the selection response on the mean of the traits overwhelmed the selection response on plasticity. Lower heritabilities of plasticity are very typical, suggesting that our results will be typical of responses to selection in nature. Our results suggest that selection will act mostly on trait means within environments and that plasticity will evolve often as a correlated trait. Because selection on plasticity is based on its across-deme, global fitness, this process will usually be slow. Comparative studies need to shift from closely related, local population differences to those of more distantly related populations or even different species.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Address for all correspondence: Department of Life Sciences (2352), Arizona State University West, PO Box 37100, Phoenix, AZ 85069, USA. Tel: +1 (602) 543-6934. Fax: +1 (602) 543-6073. e-mail: sam.scheiner@asu.edu.

The evolution of Daphnia pulex in a temporally varying environment

  • SAMUEL M. SCHEINER (a1) and LEV Yu YAMPOLSKY (a1) (a2)

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