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The diapause switch: Evolution of alternative developmental pathways in a butterfly
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Diapause decision is a classic example of a threshold switch mechanism with cascading effects on morphology, behaviour and life-history traits. This thesis addresses the downstream effects of the insect diapause switch, with the main focus on pathway-specific regulation of life-history traits, using the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) as a study species. The ultimate pathway decision is made towards the end of larval development and allows the larvae to take into account up-to-date information from the environment about future conditions (Paper I, IV). However, already from an early point in development the larvae are sensitive to environmental cues and continuously adjust their growth trajectory in accordance to current information about the environmental conditions to be expected in future (Paper IV). An asymmetry in the ability to change from one developmental pathway to another at a late point in larval development suggests that the diapause and the direct pathway require different physiological preparations (Paper IV). Pathway-specific regulation of traits downstream of the diapause switch is maintained by ongoing selection. When the direct pathway is not regularly expressed, as with a shift from bivoltinism to univoltinism, relaxed selection on the unexpressed pathway leads to genetic drift and loss of protandry (Paper II, III). Natural populations display local adaptations in the diapause switch with an increase in critical daylengths as there is a gradual shift from bivoltinism to univoltinism (Paper III). This thesis highlights two aspects of the diapause decision, the determination of how and when this decision is made as well as the way the resulting pathways are moulded by selection in order to produce adaptive seasonal polyphenism in life-history traits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2014. , 18 p.
Keyword [en]
Developmental plasticity, phenotypic plasticity, developmental switch, threshold trait, life-cycle regulation, direct development, Lepidoptera
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103200ISBN: 978-91-7447-917-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-103200DiVA: diva2:716226
Public defence
2014-06-12, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2014-05-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Asymmetric life-history decision-making in butterfly larvae
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Asymmetric life-history decision-making in butterfly larvae
Show others...
2011 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 165, no 2, 301-310 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In temperate environments, insects appearing in several generations in the growth season typically have to decide during the larval period whether to develop into adulthood, or to postpone adult emergence until next season by entering a species-specific diapause stage. This decision is typically guided by environmental cues experienced during development. An early decision makes it possible to adjust growth rate, which would allow the growing larva to respond to time stress involved in direct development, whereas a last-minute decision would instead allow the larva to use up-to-date information about which developmental pathway is the most favourable under the current circumstances. We study the timing of the larval pathway decision-making between entering pupal winter diapause and direct development in three distantly related butterflies (Pieris napi, Araschnia levana and Pararge aegeria). We pinpoint the timing of the larval diapause decision by transferring larvae from first to last instars from long daylength (inducing direct development) to short daylength conditions (inducing diapause), and vice versa. Results show that the pathway decision is typically made in the late instars in all three species, and that the ability to switch developmental pathway late in juvenile life is conditional; larvae more freely switched from diapause to direct development than in the opposite direction. We contend that this asymmetry is influenced by the additional physiological preparations needed to survive the long and cold winter period, and that the reluctance to make a late decision to enter diapause has the potential to be a general trait among temperate insects.

Keyword
Diapause/direct development, Seasonal polyphenism, Phenotypic plasticity, Lepidoptera, Developmental constraints
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Systematic Zoology; Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43771 (URN)10.1007/s00442-010-1804-0 (DOI)000286224900005 ()20953962 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2010-10-27 Created: 2010-10-27 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. The evolution of alternative developmental pathways: footprints of selection on life-history traits in a butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The evolution of alternative developmental pathways: footprints of selection on life-history traits in a butterfly
2012 (English)In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1010-061X, E-ISSN 1420-9101, Vol. 25, no 7, 1377-1388 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Developmental pathways may evolve to optimize alternative phenotypes across environments. However, the maintenance of such adaptive plasticity under relaxed selection has received little study. We compare the expression of life-history traits across two developmental pathways in two populations of the butterfly Pararge aegeria where both populations express a diapause pathway but one never expresses direct development in nature. In the population with ongoing selection on both pathways, the difference between pathways in development time and growth rate was larger, whereas the difference in body size was smaller compared with the population experiencing relaxed selection on one pathway. This indicates that relaxed selection on the direct pathway has allowed life-history traits to drift towards values associated with lower fitness when following this pathway. Relaxed selection on direct development was also associated with a higher degree of genetic variation for protandry expressed as within-family sexual dimorphism in growth rate. Genetic correlations for larval growth rate across sexes and pathways were generally positive, with the notable exception of correlation estimates that involved directly developing males of the population that experienced relaxed selection on this pathway. We conclude that relaxed selection on one developmental pathway appears to have partly disrupted the developmental regulation of life-history trait expression. This in turn suggests that ongoing selection may be responsible for maintaining adaptive developmental regulation along alternative developmental pathways in these populations.

Keyword
developmental plasticity, diapause, direct development, Lepidoptera, Phenotypic plasticity, relaxed selection, seasonal polyphenism, sexual dimorphism protandry, voltinism
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80034 (URN)10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02525.x (DOI)000305130800014 ()
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilA multiscale, cross‐disciplinary approach to the study of climate change effect on ecosystem services and biodiversity
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2012-09-12 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Latitudinal phenological adaptation: diapause induction and differentiation between alternative developmental pathways in a butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Latitudinal phenological adaptation: diapause induction and differentiation between alternative developmental pathways in a butterfly
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

1. Seasonal phenotypic plasticity entails differential trait expression depending on the time of season. The facultative induction of winter diapause in temperate insects is a developmental switch mechanism often leading to differential expression in life history traits. However, when there is a latitudinal shift from a bivoltine to univoltine life cycle, selection for pathway-specific expression is disrupted, which may allow drift towards less optimal trait values within the non-selected pathway.

2. We use field- and experimental data from five Swedish populations of Pararge aegeria to investigate latitudinal variation in voltinism, local adaptation in the diapause switch, and footprints of selection on pathway-specific regulation of life history traits and sexual dimorphism in larval development.

3. Field data clearly illustrated how natural populations gradually shift from bivoltinism to univoltinism as latitude increases. This was supported experimentally as the decrease in direct development at higher latitudes was accompanied by increasing critical daylengths, suggesting local adaptation in the diapause switch.

4. The differential expression among developmental pathways in development time and growth rate was significantly less pronounced in univoltine populations. Univoltine populations showed no significant signs of protandry during larval development, suggesting that erosion of the direct development pathway under relaxed selection has led to the loss of its sex-specific modifications.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103192 (URN)
Available from: 2014-05-08 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2014-10-28
4. The development and expression of seasonal polyphenism in life-history traits in the butterfly Pararge aegeria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The development and expression of seasonal polyphenism in life-history traits in the butterfly Pararge aegeria
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103193 (URN)
Available from: 2014-05-08 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2014-10-28

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