Data from: What happens to offspring when parents are inbred, old or had a poor start in life? : Interactions between multiple causes of parental effects
Vega-Trejo, Regina et al. (2018), Data from: What happens to offspring when parents are inbred, old or had a poor start in life? : Interactions between multiple causes of parental effects, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6642j2s
Parental effects on offspring performance have been attributed to many factors such as parental age, size, and condition. However, we know little about how these different parental characteristics interact to determine parental effects, or the extent to which their effect on offspring depends on either the sex of the parent or that of the offspring. Here we experimentally tested for main effects of variation in parents' early diet and inbreeding levels, as well as effects of parental age, and for potential interactive effects of these three factors on key aspects of offspring development in the mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). Older mothers produced offspring that were significantly smaller at birth. This negative effect of maternal age on offspring size was still evident at maturation as older mothers had smaller daughters, but not smaller sons. The daughters of older mothers did, however, reach maturity sooner. Paternal age did not affect offspring body size, but it had a complex effect on their sons' relative genital size. When initially raised on a food-restricted diet, older fathers sired sons with relatively smaller genitalia, but when fathers were initially raised on a control diet their sons had relatively larger genitalia. The inbreeding status of mothers and fathers had no significant effects on any of the measured offspring traits. Our results indicate that the manifestation of parental effects can be complex. It can vary with both parent and offspring sex; can change over an offspring's life; and is sometimes evident as an interaction between different parental traits. Understanding this complexity will be important to predict the role of parental effects in adaptation.