Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Experimental evolution of bet hedging in rotifer diapause traits as a response to environmental unpredictability

Citation

Tarazona, Eva; García-Roger, Eduardo M.; Carmona, María José (2017), Data from: Experimental evolution of bet hedging in rotifer diapause traits as a response to environmental unpredictability, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9mh20

Abstract

The adaptive response of organisms to unpredictable environments is increasingly recognized as a central topic in fundamental and applied evolutionary ecology. Selection due to environmental unpredictability can act on multiple traits of an organism’s life cycle to reduce the impact of high environmental variance. The aim of this research was to study how unpredictability selects for diapause traits: (1) the timing of sex (a proxy of the timing of diapausing egg production), and (2) the diapausing egg hatching fraction (a proxy of diapause duration). We used an experimental evolution approach with the facultative sexual rotifer Brachionus plicatilis. Laboratory populations experiencing two contrasting regimes of environmental fluctuation (predictable vs. unpredictable) evolved divergently over a short time span (< 77 days). The populations under the unpredictable regime showed an earlier initiation of sexual reproduction and a lower hatching fraction of diapausing eggs than populations under the predictable regime. These findings demonstrate empirically the existence of bet-hedging strategies in B. plicatilis regarding both traits, consistent with theoretical predictions of bet-hedging evolution under conditions of unpredictable environmental variance. Given that scenarios of increased environmental variability are expected to occur in the near future, a comprehensive understanding of the role of bet-hedging strategies is necessary for predicting population responses to environmental change.

Usage Notes