Data from: Maternal food availability affects offspring performance and survival in a viviparous lizard
Wang, Yang et al. (2018), Data from: Maternal food availability affects offspring performance and survival in a viviparous lizard, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s9b8d
1. Whether maternal effects are adaptive or not has been a long standing topic of discussion in evolutionary ecology. The effects of maternal diet on offspring has been addressed by several studies on diverse organisms, but results are typically conflicting or inconclusive. 2. In this study, we conducted food manipulation experiments with a factorial design (high and low maternal food conditions × high and low offspring food conditions) in a viviparous lacertid lizard (Eremias multiocellata) to test four competing hypotheses on the evolutionary significance of maternal effects: environmental matching hypothesis, low-food compensation hypothesis, low-food pathology hypothesis, and no-compensation hypothesis. 3. We found that offspring under the maternal low-food treatment had higher growth and survival rates than those under the maternal high-food treatment, supporting the low-food compensation hypothesis rather than the environmental matching hypothesis, which has been widely accepted as an explanation for the adaptive significance of maternal effects. 4. Our study highlights the importance of testing multiple competing hypotheses that involve both adaptive and non-adaptive explanations when studying the evolutionary significance of phenotypic plasticity.