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Genotype-environment interaction reveals varied developmental responses to unpredictable host phenology in a tropical insect

Citation

Kemp, Darrell (2021), Genotype-environment interaction reveals varied developmental responses to unpredictable host phenology in a tropical insect, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f7m0cfxvr

Abstract

Understanding the genetic architecture of life history plasticity may inform resilience under environmental change, but relatively little is known for the inhabitants of unpredictable wet-dry tropical environments. Here I explore the quantitative genetics of juvenile growth and development relative to hostplant phenology in the butterfly Eurema hecabe. Wet season generations of this species breed explosively on leguminous annuals whereas dry season generations subsist at low density upon an alternative perennial host. The wet-to-dry season transition is temporally unpredictable and marked by widespread host defoliation, forcing a large cohort of stranded larvae to either pupate prematurely or prolong development in the hope of renewed foliage production. A split-brood experiment demonstrated greater performance on high quality annual as opposed to perennial host foliage and a marked decline under the stressed conditions faced by stranded wet season larvae. Genetic variances for rates of growth and development were equivalent among high quality treatments but strikingly elevated under resource stress, and the associated cross-environment genetic correlations were indistinguishable from zero. The results demonstrate genotype-environment interaction involving both rank order and variance scale, thereby revealing genetic variance for norms of reaction that may reflect variable risk aversion given an unpredictable tropical host phenology.

Usage Notes

Missing values in the dataset are denoted "NA."

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: DP160103668

Australian Research Council, Award: FT170100417