Adaptive paternal effects? Experimental evidence that the paternal environment affects offspring performance

Crean, Angela J., Dwyer, John M. and Marshall, Dustin J. (2013) Adaptive paternal effects? Experimental evidence that the paternal environment affects offspring performance. Ecology, 94 11: 2575-2582. doi:10.1890/13-0184.1

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
UQ318599_OA.pdf Full text (open access) application/pdf 251.42KB 0

Author Crean, Angela J.
Dwyer, John M.
Marshall, Dustin J.
Title Adaptive paternal effects? Experimental evidence that the paternal environment affects offspring performance
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2013-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/13-0184.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 94
Issue 11
Start page 2575
End page 2582
Total pages 8
Place of publication Ithaca, NY, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The ability of females to adaptively influence offspring phenotype via maternal effects is widely acknowledged, but corresponding nongenetic paternal effects remain unexplored. Males can adjust sperm phenotype in response to local conditions, but the transgenerational consequences of this plasticity are unknown. We manipulated paternal density of a broadcast spawner (Styela plicata, a solitary ascidean) using methods shown previously to alter sperm phenotype in the field, then conducted in vitro fertilizations that excluded maternal effects and estimated offspring performance under natural conditions. Offspring sired by males from low-density experimental populations developed faster and had a higher hatching success than offspring sired by males living in high densities. In the field, offspring survived relatively better when their environment matched their father's, raising the possibility that fathers can adaptively influence the phenotype of their offspring according to local conditions. As the only difference between offspring is whether they were artificially fertilized by sperm from males kept in high- vs. low-density cages, we can unequivocally attribute any differences in offspring performance to an environmentally induced paternal effect. Males of many species manipulate the phenotype of their sperm in response to sperm competition: our results show this plasticity can influence offspring fitness, potentially in adaptive ways, raising the possibility that adaptive nongenetic paternal effects may be more common than previously thought. 
Keyword External fertilization
Nongenetic inheritance
Parental effect
Paternal effect
Sperm phenotype
Sperm plasticity
Styela plicata
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 37 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 03 Dec 2013, 10:54:53 EST by System User on behalf of School of Biological Sciences