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Data from: Late-life and intergenerational effects of larval exposure to microbial competitors in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides

Citation

McLean, Ailsa H. C.; Arce, Andres N.; Smiseth, Per T.; Rozen, Daniel E. (2014), Data from: Late-life and intergenerational effects of larval exposure to microbial competitors in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mg822

Abstract

Intergenerational effects can have either adaptive or nonadaptive impacts on offspring performance. Such effects are likely to be of ecological and evolutionary importance in animals with extended parental care, such as birds, mammals and some insects. Here, we studied the effects of exposure to microbial competition during early development on subsequent reproductive success in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, an insect with elaborate parental care. We found that exposure to high levels of microbial competition both during a female’s larval development and during her subsequent reproduction resulted in females rearing smaller broods than those exposed to lower levels of microbial competition. To determine whether these differences arose before or after offspring hatching, a cross-fostering experiment was conducted. Our results demonstrate that the impact of larval competition with microbes for resources extends into adult life and can negatively affect subsequent generations via impacts on the quality of parental care provided after hatching. However, we also find evidence for some positive effects of previous microbial exposure on pre-hatch investment, suggesting that the long-term results of competition with microbes may include altering the balance of parental investment between pre-hatch and post-hatch care.

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