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Data for: Transgenerational plasticity in the eye size of Daphnia

Cite this dataset

Walsh, Matthew; Gillis, Michael (2021). Data for: Transgenerational plasticity in the eye size of Daphnia [Dataset]. Dryad.


It is well established that environmental signals can induce phenotypic responses that persist for multiple generations. The induction of such 'transgenerational plasticity' (TGP) depends upon the ability of organisms to accurately receive and process information from environmental signals. Thus, sensory systems are likely intertwined with TGP.  Here we tested the link between an environmental stressor and transgenerational responses in a component of the sensory system (eye size) that is linked to enhanced vision and ecologically-relevant behaviors. We reared 45 clones of Daphnia pulicaria in the presence and absence of a low-quality resource (cyanobacteria) and evaluated shifts in relative eye size in offspring. Our results revealed divergent shifts in relative eye size within- and across-generations. Parental Daphnia that were fed cyanobacteria produced a smaller eye than Daphnia fed high quality algae. Such differences were then reversed in the offspring generation; Daphnia whose mothers were fed cyanobacteria produced larger eyes than Daphnia that were continually fed green algae. We discuss the extent to which this maternal effect on eye size is an adaptive response linked to improved foraging.