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Grasshopper populations across 2000 m of altitude: is there life history adaptation?


Berner, Daniel; Körner, Christian; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (2004). Grasshopper populations across 2000 m of altitude: is there life history adaptation? Ecography, 27(6):733-740.

Abstract

Life history differentiation along climatic gradients may have allowed a species to extend its geographic range. To explore this hypothesis, we compared eleven Omocestus viridulus (Orthoptera: Acrididae) populations along an altitudinal gradient from 410 to 2440 m in Switzerland, both in the field and laboratory. In situ temperature records indicated a striking decline in available heat sums along the gradient, and field populations at high altitudes reached egg hatching and adulthood much later in the year than at low elevation. The reproductive period at high altitude is thus severely limited by season length, especially during a cool year. However, controlled environment experiments revealed that intrinsic rates of embryonic and juvenile development increased with the populations’ altitude of origin. This countergradient variation is largely genetic and conforms to predictions of life history theory. No corresponding differentiation in the overwintering egg stage, a pivotal determinant of phenology, was found. This trait seems conserved within the gomphocerine grasshopper subfamily. Although we found evidence for altitudinal adaptation in development, the potential of O. viridulus to adapt to cool alpine climates appears restricted by a phylogenetic constraint.

Abstract

Life history differentiation along climatic gradients may have allowed a species to extend its geographic range. To explore this hypothesis, we compared eleven Omocestus viridulus (Orthoptera: Acrididae) populations along an altitudinal gradient from 410 to 2440 m in Switzerland, both in the field and laboratory. In situ temperature records indicated a striking decline in available heat sums along the gradient, and field populations at high altitudes reached egg hatching and adulthood much later in the year than at low elevation. The reproductive period at high altitude is thus severely limited by season length, especially during a cool year. However, controlled environment experiments revealed that intrinsic rates of embryonic and juvenile development increased with the populations’ altitude of origin. This countergradient variation is largely genetic and conforms to predictions of life history theory. No corresponding differentiation in the overwintering egg stage, a pivotal determinant of phenology, was found. This trait seems conserved within the gomphocerine grasshopper subfamily. Although we found evidence for altitudinal adaptation in development, the potential of O. viridulus to adapt to cool alpine climates appears restricted by a phylogenetic constraint.

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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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2004
Deposited On:22 Aug 2019 11:50
Last Modified:16 Apr 2020 00:01
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0906-7590
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0906-7590.2005.04012.x

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