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Largely flat latitudinal life history clines in the dung fly Sepsis fulgens across Europe (Diptera: Sepsidae)


Roy, Jeannine; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U; Rohner, Patrick T (2018). Largely flat latitudinal life history clines in the dung fly Sepsis fulgens across Europe (Diptera: Sepsidae). Oecologia, 187(3):851-862.

Abstract

Clinal variation in body size and related life history traits is common and has stimulated the postulation of several eco-geographical rules. Whereas some clinal patterns are clearly adaptive, the causes of others remain obscure. We investigated intra-specific body size, development time and female fecundity (egg size and number) clines across 13 European populations of the dung fly Sepsis fulgens spanning 20° latitude from southern Italy to Estonia in a genetic common garden approach. Despite very short generation times (ca. 2 weeks at 24 °C), we found a converse Bergmann cline (smaller size at higher latitudes). As development time did not change with latitude (flat cline), integral growth rate thus likely declines towards the pole. At the same time, early fecundity, but not egg size, increased with latitude. Rather than being mediated by seasonal time constraints, the body size reduction in the northernmost flies from Estonia could suggest that these are marginal, edge populations, as when omitting them the body size cline became flat as well. Most of the other sepsid species investigated to date also show flat body size clines, a pattern that strikingly differs from Drosophila. We conclude that S. fulgens life history traits appear to be shaped by similar environmental pressures and selective mechanisms across Europe, be they adaptive or not. This reiterates the suggestion that body size clines can result as a secondary consequence of selection pressures shaping an entire life history syndrome, rendering them inconsistent and unpredictable in general.

Abstract

Clinal variation in body size and related life history traits is common and has stimulated the postulation of several eco-geographical rules. Whereas some clinal patterns are clearly adaptive, the causes of others remain obscure. We investigated intra-specific body size, development time and female fecundity (egg size and number) clines across 13 European populations of the dung fly Sepsis fulgens spanning 20° latitude from southern Italy to Estonia in a genetic common garden approach. Despite very short generation times (ca. 2 weeks at 24 °C), we found a converse Bergmann cline (smaller size at higher latitudes). As development time did not change with latitude (flat cline), integral growth rate thus likely declines towards the pole. At the same time, early fecundity, but not egg size, increased with latitude. Rather than being mediated by seasonal time constraints, the body size reduction in the northernmost flies from Estonia could suggest that these are marginal, edge populations, as when omitting them the body size cline became flat as well. Most of the other sepsid species investigated to date also show flat body size clines, a pattern that strikingly differs from Drosophila. We conclude that S. fulgens life history traits appear to be shaped by similar environmental pressures and selective mechanisms across Europe, be they adaptive or not. This reiterates the suggestion that body size clines can result as a secondary consequence of selection pressures shaping an entire life history syndrome, rendering them inconsistent and unpredictable in general.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 July 2018
Deposited On:14 Nov 2018 17:11
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:51
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0029-8549
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-018-4166-7

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