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Data from: Predator-induced phenotypic plasticity within- and across-generations: a challenge for theory?

Citation

Walsh, Matthew R.; Biles, Kelsey; Cooley, Frank; Munch, Stephan B. (2014), Data from: Predator-induced phenotypic plasticity within- and across-generations: a challenge for theory?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.d38f2

Abstract

Much work has shown that the environment can induce non-genetic changes in phenotype that span multiple generations. Theory predicts that predictable environmental variation selects for both increased within- and across-generation responses. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, there are no empirical tests of this prediction. We explored the relationship between within- versus across-generation plasticity by evaluating the influence of predator cues on the life-history traits of Daphnia ambigua. We measured the duration of predator-induced transgenerational effects, determined when transgenerational responses are induced, and quantified the cues that activate transgenerational plasticity. We show that predator exposure during embryonic development causes earlier maturation and increased reproductive output. Such effects are detectable two generations removed from predator exposure and are similar in magnitude in response to exposure to cues emitted by injured conspecifics. Moreover, all experimental contexts and traits yielded a negative correlation between within- versus across-generation responses. That is, responses to predator cues within- and across-generations were opposite in sign and magnitude. Although many models address transgenerational plasticity, none of them explain this apparent negative relationship between within- and across-generation plasticities. Our results highlight the need to refine the theory of transgenerational plasticity.

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