Evol Ecol Res 12: 821-829 (2010)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Developmental threshold model challenged by temperature

Anna Kuparinen1, Ane T. Laugen2, Anssi Laurila3 and Juha Merilä1

1Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland,  2Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Uppsala, Sweden and  3Population and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Correspondence: A. Kuparinen, Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland.
e-mail: anna.kuparinen@helsinki.fi


Question: Does the L-shape of the reaction norm for age and size at ontogenetic transitions arise irrespective of temperature? The developmental threshold model suggests that this shape arises due to a threshold in body size to undertake the transition.

Data studied: Ages and sizes at metamorphosis measured in a common garden experiment in Rana temporaria originating from six populations along a latitudinal gradient. Individuals were exposed to three temperature treatments and two levels of food.

Search method: Population-specific age and size at metamorphosis were plotted against each other, and the shape of the reaction norm across populations was further illustrated by an exponential decay function. The observed patterns were further explored via linear mixed-effect models.

Conclusion: The L-shape of the reaction norm depends on temperature, suggesting that at low temperature a developmental threshold in age rather than in size regulates the process of metamorphosis.

Keywords: development, growth, metamorphosis, Rana temporaria, temperature, threshold size.

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