Data from: Investigating yellow dung fly body size evolution in the field: response to climate change?
Blanckenhorn, Wolf U. (2015), Data from: Investigating yellow dung fly body size evolution in the field: response to climate change?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3v4hn
Uncovering genetic responses to selection in wild populations typically requires tracking individuals over generations and use of animal models. Our group monitored the body size of one Swiss Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria; Diptera: Scathophagidae) field population over 15 years, including intermittent common garden rearing in the laboratory to assess body size with minimized environmental and maximized genetic variation. Contrary to expectations based on repeated heritability and phenotypic selection assessments over the years (reported elsewhere), field body sizes declined by >10% and common-garden laboratory sizes by >5% from 1993 – 2009. Our results confirm the temperature-size rule (smaller when warmer) and, albeit entirely correlational, could be mediated by climate change, as over this period mean temperature at the site increased by 0.5°C, although alternative systematic environmental changes cannot be entirely excluded. Monitoring genetic responses to selection in wild invertebrate populations is thus possible, though indirect, and wild populations may evolve in directions not consistent with strongly positive directional selection favoring large body size.