Evolution and plasticity of thermal performance: An analysis of variation in thermal tolerance and fitness in 22 Drosophila species

Heidi MacLean, Jesper Givskov Sørensen, Torsten Nygård Kristensen, Volker Loeschcke, Kristian Beedholm, Vanessa Kellermann, Johannes Overgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The thermal biology of ectotherms is often used to infer species' responses to changes in temperature. It is often proposed that temperate species are more cold-tolerant, less heat-tolerant, more plastic, have broader thermal performance curves (TPCs) and lower optimal temperatures when compared to tropical species. However, relatively little empirical work has provided support for this using large interspecific studies. In the present study, we measure thermal tolerance limits and thermal performance in 22 species of Drosophila that developed under common conditions. Specifically, we measure thermal tolerance (CT min and CT max) as well as the fitness components viability, developmental speed and fecundity at seven temperatures to construct TPCs for each of these species. For 10 of the species, we also measure thermal tolerance and thermal performance following developmental acclimation to three additional temperatures. Using these data, we test several fundamental hypotheses about the evolution and plasticity of heat and cold resistance and thermal performance. We find that cold tolerance (CT min) varied between the species according to the environmental temperature in the habitat from which they originated. These data support the idea that the evolution of cold tolerance has allowed species to persist in colder environments. However, contrary to expectation, we find that optimal temperature (T opt) and the breadth of thermal performance (T breadth) are similar in temperate, widespread and tropical species and we also find that the plasticity of TPCs was constrained. We suggest that the temperature range for optimal thermal performance is either fixed or under selection by the more similar temperatures that prevail during growing seasons. As a consequence, we find that T opt and T breadth are of limited value for predicting past, present and future distributions of species. This article is part of the theme issue 'Physiological diversity, biodiversity patterns and global climate change: testing key hypotheses involving temperature and oxygen'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180548
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume374
Issue number1778
ISSN0962-8436
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2019

Fingerprint

heat tolerance
Drosophila
Plasticity
Hot Temperature
heat
Temperature
temperature
cold tolerance
Thermotolerance
Climate Change
Acclimatization
Biodiversity
acclimation
Plastics
ambient temperature
Ecosystem
Fertility
fecundity
biogeography
plastics

Keywords

  • Drosophila
  • Fitness
  • Life-history
  • Plasticity
  • Reaction norm
  • Thermal limits
  • Thermal performance curve

Cite this

MacLean, Heidi ; Sørensen, Jesper Givskov ; Kristensen, Torsten Nygård ; Loeschcke, Volker ; Beedholm, Kristian ; Kellermann, Vanessa ; Overgaard, Johannes. / Evolution and plasticity of thermal performance: An analysis of variation in thermal tolerance and fitness in 22 Drosophila species. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2019 ; Vol. 374, No. 1778.
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Evolution and plasticity of thermal performance: An analysis of variation in thermal tolerance and fitness in 22 Drosophila species. / MacLean, Heidi; Sørensen, Jesper Givskov; Kristensen, Torsten Nygård; Loeschcke, Volker; Beedholm, Kristian; Kellermann, Vanessa; Overgaard, Johannes.

In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 374, No. 1778, 20180548, 05.08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - MacLean, Heidi

AU - Sørensen, Jesper Givskov

AU - Kristensen, Torsten Nygård

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AU - Beedholm, Kristian

AU - Kellermann, Vanessa

AU - Overgaard, Johannes

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AB - The thermal biology of ectotherms is often used to infer species' responses to changes in temperature. It is often proposed that temperate species are more cold-tolerant, less heat-tolerant, more plastic, have broader thermal performance curves (TPCs) and lower optimal temperatures when compared to tropical species. However, relatively little empirical work has provided support for this using large interspecific studies. In the present study, we measure thermal tolerance limits and thermal performance in 22 species of Drosophila that developed under common conditions. Specifically, we measure thermal tolerance (CT min and CT max) as well as the fitness components viability, developmental speed and fecundity at seven temperatures to construct TPCs for each of these species. For 10 of the species, we also measure thermal tolerance and thermal performance following developmental acclimation to three additional temperatures. Using these data, we test several fundamental hypotheses about the evolution and plasticity of heat and cold resistance and thermal performance. We find that cold tolerance (CT min) varied between the species according to the environmental temperature in the habitat from which they originated. These data support the idea that the evolution of cold tolerance has allowed species to persist in colder environments. However, contrary to expectation, we find that optimal temperature (T opt) and the breadth of thermal performance (T breadth) are similar in temperate, widespread and tropical species and we also find that the plasticity of TPCs was constrained. We suggest that the temperature range for optimal thermal performance is either fixed or under selection by the more similar temperatures that prevail during growing seasons. As a consequence, we find that T opt and T breadth are of limited value for predicting past, present and future distributions of species. This article is part of the theme issue 'Physiological diversity, biodiversity patterns and global climate change: testing key hypotheses involving temperature and oxygen'.

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