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Weak evidence for anticipatory parental effects in plants and animals

Uller, Tobias LU ; Nakagawa, Shinichi and English, Sinead (2013) In Journal of evolutionary biology 26(10). p.2161-2170
Abstract
The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity relies on the presence of cues that enable organisms to adjust their phenotype to match local conditions. Although mostly studied with respect to nonsocial cues, it is also possible that parents transmit information about the environment to their offspring. Such anticipatory parental effects' or adaptive transgenerational plasticity' can have important consequences for the dynamics and adaptive potential of populations in heterogeneous environments. Yet, it remains unknown how widespread this form of plasticity is. Using a meta-analysis of experimental studies with a fully factorial design, we show that there is only weak evidence for higher offspring performance when parental and offspring... (More)
The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity relies on the presence of cues that enable organisms to adjust their phenotype to match local conditions. Although mostly studied with respect to nonsocial cues, it is also possible that parents transmit information about the environment to their offspring. Such anticipatory parental effects' or adaptive transgenerational plasticity' can have important consequences for the dynamics and adaptive potential of populations in heterogeneous environments. Yet, it remains unknown how widespread this form of plasticity is. Using a meta-analysis of experimental studies with a fully factorial design, we show that there is only weak evidence for higher offspring performance when parental and offspring environments are matched compared with when they are mismatched. Estimates of heterogeneity among studies suggest that effects, when they occur, are subtle. Study features, environmental context, life stage and trait categories all failed to explain significant amounts of variation in effect sizes. We discuss theoretical and methodological reasons for the limited evidence for anticipatory parental effects and suggest ways to improve our understanding of the prevalence of this form of plasticity in nature. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of evolutionary biology
volume
26
issue
10
pages
2161 - 2170
publisher
John Wiley & Sons
external identifiers
  • scopus:84883828148
ISSN
1420-9101
DOI
10.1111/jeb.12212
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bd625bf3-3863-497c-bbfc-ad498d878038 (old id 4738933)
date added to LUP
2014-11-07 15:35:15
date last changed
2019-04-21 03:26:09
@article{bd625bf3-3863-497c-bbfc-ad498d878038,
  abstract     = {The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity relies on the presence of cues that enable organisms to adjust their phenotype to match local conditions. Although mostly studied with respect to nonsocial cues, it is also possible that parents transmit information about the environment to their offspring. Such anticipatory parental effects' or adaptive transgenerational plasticity' can have important consequences for the dynamics and adaptive potential of populations in heterogeneous environments. Yet, it remains unknown how widespread this form of plasticity is. Using a meta-analysis of experimental studies with a fully factorial design, we show that there is only weak evidence for higher offspring performance when parental and offspring environments are matched compared with when they are mismatched. Estimates of heterogeneity among studies suggest that effects, when they occur, are subtle. Study features, environmental context, life stage and trait categories all failed to explain significant amounts of variation in effect sizes. We discuss theoretical and methodological reasons for the limited evidence for anticipatory parental effects and suggest ways to improve our understanding of the prevalence of this form of plasticity in nature.},
  author       = {Uller, Tobias and Nakagawa, Shinichi and English, Sinead},
  issn         = {1420-9101},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {2161--2170},
  publisher    = {John Wiley & Sons},
  series       = {Journal of evolutionary biology},
  title        = {Weak evidence for anticipatory parental effects in plants and animals},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12212},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2013},
}