Inconsistent effects of developmental temperatureacclimation on low-temperature performance andmetabolism in Drosophila melanogaster

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Question: Does acclimation to developmental temperature consistently affect metabolismand low-temperature performance when measured in different laboratory and field assays?

Hypothesis: Developmental acclimation reflecting naturally fluctuating thermal conditionsconsistently increases different components of performance at low temperatures and results ina clearly defined metabolic signature.

Organism: The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster acclimated at different temperatures duringdevelopment under semi-field and laboratory conditionsField site: Mt. Rothwell (375322″S, 1442625″E) and laboratory facilities at the Universityof Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Methods: Adult females developed under four different constant or fluctuating thermalconditions were tested for their ability to locate food under cool conditions, recovery froma cold shock, or fecundity. Flies from the different acclimation regimes were characterizedbiochemically using NMR-based metabolomics.

Conclusions: Flies reared at constant benign temperatures were more fecund at all acclimationtemperatures. In contrast, flies reared under fluctuating natural or laboratory conditions weremore successful in locating food under cool conditions in the field, while constant cool rearingconditions led to high cold resistance. The fluctuating- and low-temperature rearing conditionsresulted in a similar metabolic profile, while the 24C rearing profile was distinct and showeda lack of plasticity. The effects of developmental acclimation on performance are thereforecomplex and cannot be captured through experimental comparisons of constant environments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Pages (from-to)821-837
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2012

    Research areas

  • beneficial acclimation hypothesis, cold toler, fluctuating vs. constant temperatures, life-history traits, metabolomics, plasticity

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