Environment‐induced changes in reproductive strategies and their transgenerational effects in the three‐spined stickleback
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/3188
EDITED VERSION: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.7052
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
An organism may increase its fitness by changing its reproductive strategies in response to environmental cues, but the possible consequences of those changes for the next generation have rarely been explored. By using an experiment on the three‐spined stickleback ("Gasterosteus aculeatus"), we studied how changes in the onset of breeding photoperiod (early versus late) affect reproductive strategies of males and females, and life histories of their offspring. We also explored whether telomeres are involved in the within‐ and transgenerational effects. In response to the late onset of breeding photoperiod, females reduced their investment in the early clutches, but males increased their investment in sexual signals. Costs of increased reproductive investment in terms of telomere loss were evident only in the late females. The environmentally induced changes in reproductive strategies affected offspring growth and survival. Most notably, offspring growth rate was the fastest when both parents experienced a delayed (i.e., late) breeding photoperiod, and survival rate was the highest when both parents experienced an advanced (i.e., early) breeding photoperiod. There was no evidence of transgenerational effects on offspring telomere length despite positive parents–offspring relationships in this trait. Our results highlight that environmental changes may impact more than one generation by altering reproductive strategies of seasonal breeders with consequences for offspring viability.
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