Rapid growth reduces cold resistance: evidence from latitudinal variation in growth rate, cold resistance and stress proteins

Stoks, R.; De Block, M.

PLOS one 6(2): E16935


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 21390210
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016935
Accession: 037460179

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Physiological costs of rapid growth may contribute to the observation that organisms typically grow at submaximal rates. Although, it has been hypothesized that faster growing individuals would do worse in dealing with suboptimal temperatures, this type of cost has never been explored empirically. Furthermore, the mechanistic basis of the physiological costs of rapid growth is largely unexplored. Larvae of the damselfly Ischnura elegans from two univoltine northern and two multivoltine southern populations were reared at three temperatures and after emergence given a cold shock. Cold resistance, measured by chill coma recovery times in the adult stage, was lower in the southern populations. The faster larval growth rates in the southern populations contributed to this latitudinal pattern in cold resistance. In accordance with their assumed role in cold resistance, Hsp70 levels were lower in the southern populations, and faster growing larvae had lower Hsp70 levels. Yet, individual variation in Hsp70 levels did not explain variation in cold resistance. WE PROVIDE EVIDENCE FOR A NOVEL COST OF RAPID GROWTH: reduced cold resistance. Our results indicate that the reduced cold resistance in southern populations of animals that change voltinism along the latitudinal gradient may not entirely be explained by thermal selection per se but also by the costs of time constraint-induced higher growth rates. This also illustrates that stressors imposed in the larval stage may carry over and shape fitness in the adult stage and highlights the importance of physiological costs in the evolution of life-histories at macro-scales.