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Adaptive effects of parental and developmental environments on offspring survival, growth, and phenotype

Cite this dataset

Cortese, Daphne et al. (2022). Adaptive effects of parental and developmental environments on offspring survival, growth, and phenotype [Dataset]. Dryad.


Phenotypic adjustments to environmental variation are particularly relevant to cope with putative environmental mismatches often imposed by natal dispersal.

We used an inter-generational cross-transplant field-based experiment to evaluate the morphological and physiological effects of parental and post-settlement water flow environments on the orange-fin anemonefish Amphiprion chrysopterus through ontogeny (at pre- and post-settlement stages).

Offspring born from parents under high water flow had an 18% higher caudal fin aspect ratio (a compound measure of shape) at the pre-settlement stage, 10% slower growth after settlement, and 55% lower survival after settlement compared to offspring from low-water-flow parents. At the pre-settlement stage, caudal fin length was determined by parental caudal fin length. At the post-settlement stage, fish survived equally well with similar phenotypes in both high- and low-developmental-flow environments. However, results suggest potential developmental phenotypic plasticity in caudal fin length, which increases more under low water flow during development. After settlement growth was the only morphological or physiological trait that was associated with parental water flow, which was lower from parents under high flow, as was survival.

These results give important insights into the parental contribution, both genetic and non-genetic, in determining early offspring phenotype and subsequent growth and survival. Our results also suggest that offspring may possess the flexibility to cope with a wide range of local environments including those different from their parents. Overall, the findings of this study show the fitness consequences of living in different environments and the likely trade-offs between parental and offspring fitness in a wild population.


Association Neurofibromatoses et Recklinghausen, Award: ANR-14-CE02-0005-01/Stay or Go

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/J019100/1