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Data from: Adaptation in response to environmental unpredictability

Cite this dataset

Franch-Gras, Lluis; García-Roger, Eduardo M.; Serra, Manuel; José Carmona, María (2017). Data from: Adaptation in response to environmental unpredictability [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding how organisms adaptively respond to environmental fluctuations is a fundamental question in evolutionary biology. The Mediterranean region typically exhibits levels of environmental unpredictability that vary greatly in habitats over small geographical scales. In cyclically parthenogenetic rotifers, clonal proliferation occurs along with occasional bouts of sex. These bouts contribute to the production of diapausing eggs, which allows survival between growing seasons. Here, we studied two diapause-related traits in rotifers using clones from nine Brachionus plicatilis natural populations that vary in the degree of environmental unpredictability. We tested the hypothesis that the level of environmental unpredictability is directly related to the propensity for sex and inversely related to the hatching fraction of diapausing eggs. We found significant levels of genetic variation within populations for both traits. Interestingly, a positive correlation between pond unpredictability-quantified in a previous study from satellite imagery-and the propensity for sex was found. This correlation suggests a conservative, bet-hedging strategy that provides protection against unexpectedly short growing seasons. By contrast, the hatching fraction of diapausing eggs was not related to the level of environmental predictability. Our results highlight the ability of rotifer populations to locally adapt to time-varying environments, providing an evolutionarily relevant step forward in relating life-history traits to a quantitative measure of environmental unpredictability.

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Iberian Peninsule