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Pace of life syndrome under warming and pollution: integrating life history, behavior, and physiology across latitudes

  • Debecker, Sara; 76860;
  • Stoks, Robby; 34380;
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2019
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© 2018 by the Ecological Society of America To fully comprehend and predict the impact of drivers of global change such as climate warming and pollution, integrated multi-trait approaches are needed. As organismal traits are often correlated, responses to stressors are expected to induce coordinated changes in many traits. A promising framework to study this is the pace of life syndrome (POLS), which predicts the integration of life history, behavioral, and physiological traits along a fast-slow continuum. Using an integrative multi-trait approach, we evaluated the presence of a POLS both within and across latitudes and how POLS patterns are affected by warming and metal pollution. We studied this in Ischnura elegans damselfly larvae of replicated low- and high-latitude populations that strongly differ in voltinism (three to four generations per year vs. one generation every two years) reared in a common-garden experiment at two temperatures. Across latitudes, life history, behavior, and physiology covaried in accordance with the POLS, with the fast-paced low-latitude damselflies characterized by a fast growth rate, high activity, and more explorative and risk-taking behavior, fast metabolic rate, and low investment in immune function (activity of phenoloxidase). This fast POLS strategy was associated with a higher sensitivity to metal exposure and a higher vulnerability to predation. Warming caused opposite responses between the latitudes consistent with differential thermal adaptation in growth rate, behavior, and oxidative stress parameters. Despite this, damselflies of both latitudes showed a consistent pattern in phenotypic correlations among traits that, moreover, was not affected by warming and metal exposure. Within latitudes, there was no full support for the POLS. More active larvae were more explorative and risk taking, which aligned with the fast-slow life history axis, but less strong than at the across-latitude level. Physiological traits were also integrated within latitudes, yet there was no unambiguous coupling with the fast-slow life history continuum. The consistent syndrome structure, if underpinned by genetic correlations, may restrict the independent evolution of individual traits, yet may not necessarily constrain adaptive evolution of integrated trait sets. This is because the covariance pattern was to a large extent similar across latitudes and within latitudes, suggesting adaptive trait integration guiding adaptive evolution of trait sets along the fast-slow continuum. / status: published

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