Experience Modulates the Reproductive Response to Heat Stress in C. elegans via Multiple Physiological Processes.
ABSTRACT: Natural environments are considerably more variable than laboratory settings and often involve transient exposure to stressful conditions. To fully understand how organisms have evolved to respond to any given stress, prior experience must therefore be considered. We investigated the effects of individual and ancestral experience on C. elegans reproduction. We documented ways in which cultivation at 15°C or 25°C affects developmental time, lifetime fecundity, and reproductive performance after severe heat stress that exceeds the fertile range of the organism but is compatible with survival and future fecundity. We found that experience modulates multiple aspects of reproductive physiology, including the male and female germ lines and the interaction between them. These responses vary in their environmental sensitivity, suggesting the existence of complex mechanisms for coping with unpredictable and stressful environments.
Project description:Whether sexual selection impedes or aids adaptation has become an outstanding question in times of rapid environmental change and parallels the debate about how the evolution of individual traits impacts on population dynamics. The net effect of sexual selection on population viability results from a balance between genetic benefits of "good-genes" effects and costs of sexual conflict. Depending on how these facets of sexual selection are affected under environmental change, extinction of maladapted populations could be either avoided or accelerated. Here, we evolved seed beetles under three alternative mating regimes to disentangle the contributions of sexual selection, fecundity selection, and male-female coevolution to individual reproductive success and population fitness. We compared these contributions between the ancestral environment and two stressful environments (elevated temperature and a host plant shift). We found evidence that sexual selection on males had positive genetic effects on female fitness components across environments, supporting good-genes sexual selection. Interestingly, however, when males evolved under sexual selection with fecundity selection removed, they became more robust to both temperature and host plant stress compared to their conspecific females and males from the other evolution regimes that applied fecundity selection. We quantified the population-level consequences of this sex-specific adaptation and found evidence that the cost of sociosexual interactions in terms of reduced offspring production was higher in the regime applying only sexual selection to males. Moreover, the cost tended to be more pronounced at the elevated temperature to which males from the regime were more robust compared to their conspecific females. These results illustrate the tension between individual-level adaptation and population-level viability in sexually reproducing species and suggest that the relative efficacies of sexual selection and fecundity selection can cause inherent sex differences in environmental robustness that may impact demography of maladapted populations.
Project description:The ability to respond appropriately to challenges is an important contributor to fitness. Variation in the regulation of glucocorticoid hormones, which mediate the phenotypic response to challenges, can therefore influence the ability to persist in a given environment. We compared stress responsiveness in four populations of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) breeding under different environmental conditions to evaluate support for different selective pressures in driving the evolution of glucocorticoid regulation. In accordance with the environmental unpredictability hypothesis, stronger stress responses were seen in more unpredictable environments. Contrary to the reproductive value hypothesis, the stress response was not lower in populations engaging in more valuable reproductive attempts. Populations with stronger stress responses also had stronger negative feedback, which supports a "mitigating" rather than a "magnifying" effect of negative feedback on stress responses. These results suggest that combining a robust stress response with strong negative feedback may be important for persisting in unpredictable or rapidly changing environments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prior studies among women with impaired fecundity have consistently demonstrated a positive association between daily perceived stress and the ability to conceive. However, the effects of daily stress on time to pregnancy (TTP) among women with proven fertility is not known. MATERIALS AND METHODS:One hundred and forty-three women ages 18-35, in a relationship of proven fertility, who desired to conceive were included in the analysis. Daily diaries recording perceived stress (scale 0-10) were completed for up to 7 menstrual cycles or until pregnancy. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate the association between time-varying perceived stress tertiles (high [>4.1-7.2], moderate [>2.7-4.1], and low [0.1-2.7]) and adjusted fecundability odds ratio (aFOR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), after taking into account age, parity, education, time-varying caffeine and alcohol intake, fertility awareness tracking, and cycle intent to conceive. RESULTS:Among the 111 participants who completed daily diaries, 90 (81.1%) conceived. Women reporting high or moderate stress, versus low stress, had no difference in probability of achieving pregnancy (aFOR: 1.11 [95% CI: 0.58, 2.14]; and aFOR: 1.37 [0.71, 2.67]), respectively. Additional adjustment for intercourse frequency during narrow fertile window, or narrowing exposure focus to pre-ovulatory or pre-implantation stress did not appreciably alter the estimates. CONCLUSION:Daily perceived stress was not adversely associated with TTP among women with proven fertility. While a growing body of evidence supports adverse effects of more severe stressful life events on female reproductive function, moderate psychological stress, commonly referred to as eustress, among relatively healthy women with proven fertility does not appear to adversely impact TTP.
Project description:PURPOSE:The aim of this study is to analyze women's opinions and their decision making processes regarding elective oocyte cryopreservation (OC). METHODS:One hundred twenty-four women who had elective OC counseling at the CHA Seoul Fertility Center were asked to complete a survey after their first visit. Data collection regarding age, marital status, monthly income, occupation, religion, reproductive history, questions about the participant's view on their own fecundity, and future parenthood were included. The modified Reproductive Concerns After Cancer scale and the Decisional Conflict Scale were used for analysis. RESULTS:The participants' mean age was 37.1 ± 4.8 years old. Eighty-six percent of the participants had regular periods. Ninety-two percent thought it was important to have their own biological offspring, and 86% were willing to pursue OC. Forty-nine percent appeared to have high DCS scores regarding making a decision of OC. Sixty-eight percent pursued OC, and the mean number of oocytes cryopreserved per patient was 10.5 ± 8.3. Multivariate analysis revealed that age was the only factor associated with high DCS scores (P = 0.002). Feeling less fertile than other women of same age and low DCS scores were the factors associated with pursuing OC (P = 0.02 and 0.004, respectively) after adjusting for possible confounding factors, including age. CONCLUSIONS:Older women had more difficulties in making decisions about OC. Adjusting for age, women who thought that they were less fertile than other women of same age and those with lower decisional conflict were more likely to pursue OC. Further studies should focus on the validation of older women's decisional conflicts regarding OC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Ability to resist temperature shock is an important component of fitness of insects and other ectotherms. Increased resistance to temperature shock is known to affect life-history traits. Temperature shock is also known to affect reproductive traits such as mating ability and viability of gametes. Therefore selection for increased temperature shock resistance can affect the evolution of reproductive traits.<h4>Methods</h4>We selected replicate populations of Drosophila melanogaster for resistance to cold shock. We then investigated the evolution of reproductive behavior along with other components of fitness- larval survivorship, adult mortality, fecundity, egg viability in these populations.<h4>Results</h4>We found that larval survivorship, adult mortality and fecundity post cold shock were not significantly different between selected and control populations. However, compared to the control populations, the selected populations laid significantly higher percentage of fertile eggs (egg viability) 24 hours post cold shock. The selected populations had higher mating frequency both with and without cold shock. After being subjected to cold shock, males from the selected populations successfully mated with significantly more non-virgin females and sired significantly more progeny compared to control males.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A number of studies have reported the evolution of survivorship in response to selection for temperature shock resistance. Our results clearly indicate that adaptation to cold shock can involve changes in components of reproductive fitness. Our results have important implications for our understanding of how reproductive behavior can evolve in response to thermal stress.
Project description:Understanding how species that follow different life-history strategies respond to stressful temperature can be essential for efficient treatments of agricultural pests. Here, we focused on how the development, reproduction, flight, and reproductive consequences of migration of <i>Cnaphalocrocis medinalis</i> were influenced by exposure to different rearing temperatures in the immature stage. We found that the immature rice leaf roller that were reared at low temperatures (18 and 22 °C) developed more slowly than the normal temperature 26 °C, while those reared at high temperatures (34 °C) grew faster. Female adults from low immature stage rearing temperatures showed stronger reproductive ability than those at 26 and 34 °C, such as the preoviposition period (POP) significantly decreased, while the total lifetime fecundity obviously increased. However, 34 °C did not significantly reduce the reproductive performances of females compared to 26 °C. On the contrary, one relative decreased tendency of flight capacity was found in the lower immature temperature treatments. Furthermore, flight is a costly strategy for reproduction output to compete for limited internal resources. In the lower temperature treatments, after d1-tethered flight treatment, negative reproductive consequences were found that flight significantly decreased the lifetime fecundity and mating frequency of females from low rearing temperatures in the immature stage compared to the controls (no tethered-flight). However, in the 26 and 34 °C treatments, the same flight treatment induced a positive influence on reproduction, which significantly reduced the POP and period of first oviposition (PFO). The results suggest that the experience of relative high temperatures in the immature stage is more likely to trigger the onset of migration, but lower temperatures in the immature stage may induce adults to have a greater resident propensity with stronger reproductive ability.
Project description:A fundamental question in life-history evolution is how organisms cope with fluctuating environments, including variation between stressful and benign conditions. For short-lived organisms, environments commonly vary between generations. Using a novel experimental design, we exposed wild-derived Drosophila melanogaster to three different selection regimes: one where generations alternated between starvation and benign conditions, and starvation was always preceded by early exposure to cold; another where starvation and benign conditions alternated in the same way, but cold shock sometimes preceded starvation and sometimes benign conditions; and a third where conditions were always benign. Using six replicate populations per selection regime, we found that selected flies increased their starvation resistance, most strongly for the regime where cold and starvation were reliably combined, and this occurred without decreased fecundity or extended developmental time. The selected flies became stress resistant, displayed a pronounced increase in early life food intake and resource storage. In contrast to previous experiments selecting for increased starvation resistance in D. melanogaster, we did not find increased storage of lipids as the main response, but instead that, in particular for females, storage of carbohydrates was more pronounced. We argue that faster mobilization of carbohydrates is advantageous in fluctuating environments and conclude that the phenotype that evolved in our experiment corresponds to a compromise between the requirements of stressful and benign environments.
Project description:Facilitation enables plants to improve their fitness in stressful environments. The overall impact of plant-plant interactions on the population dynamics of protégées is the net result of both positive and negative effects that may act simultaneously along the plant life cycle, and depends on the environmental context. This study evaluates the impact of the nurse plant Juniperus sabina on different stages of the life cycle of the forb Helleborus foetidus. Growth, number of leaves, flowers, carpels, and seeds per flower were compared for 240 individuals collected under nurse canopies and in open areas at two sites with contrasting stress levels. Spatial associations with nurse plants and age structures were also checked. A structural equation model was built to test the effect of facilitation on fecundity, accounting for sequential steps from flowering to seed production. The net impact of nurse plants depended on a combination of positive and negative effects on vegetative and reproductive variables. Although nurse plants caused a decrease in flower production at the low-stress site, their net impact there was neutral. In contrast, at the high-stress site the net outcome of plant-plant interactions was positive due to an increase in effective recruitment, plant density, number of viable carpels per flower, and fruit set under nurse canopies. The naturally lower rates of secondary growth and flower production at the high-stress site were compensated by the net positive impact of nurse plants here. Our results emphasize the need to evaluate entire processes and not only final outcomes when studying plant-plant interactions.
Project description:To ensure long-term reproductive success organisms have to cope with harsh environmental extremes. A reproductive strategy that simply maximizes offspring production is likely to be disadvantageous because it could lead to a catastrophic loss of fecundity under unfavorable conditions. To understand how an appropriate balance is achieved, we investigated reproductive performance of C. elegans under conditions of chronic heat stress. We found that following even prolonged exposure to temperatures at which none of the offspring survive, worms could recover and resume reproduction. The likelihood of producing viable offspring falls precipitously after exposure to temperatures greater than 28°C primarily due to sperm damage. Surprisingly, we found that worms that experienced higher temperatures can recover considerably better, provided they did not initiate ovulation. Therefore mechanisms controlling this process must play a crucial role in determining the probability of recovery. We show, however, that suppressing ovulation is only beneficial under relatively long stresses, whereas it is a disadvantageous strategy under shorter stresses of the same intensity. This is because the benefit of shutting down egg laying, and thus protecting the reproductive system, is negated by the cost associated with implementing this strategy--it takes considerable time to recover and produce offspring. We interpret these balanced trade-offs as a dynamic response of the C. elegans reproductive system to stress and an adaptation to life in variable and unpredictable conditions.
Project description:When conditions are stressful, reproduction and population growth are reduced, but when favourable, reproduction and population size can boom. Theory suggests climate change is an increasingly stressful environment, predicting extinctions or decreased abundances. However, if favourable conditions align, such as an increase in resources or release from competition and predation, future climate can fuel population growth. Tests of such population growth models and the mechanisms by which they are enabled are rare. We tested whether intergenerational increases in population size might be facilitated by adjustments in reproductive success to favourable environmental conditions in a large-scale mesocosm experiment. Herbivorous amphipod populations responded to future climate by increasing 20 fold, suggesting that future climate might relax environmental constraints on fecundity. We then assessed whether future climate reduces variation in mating success, boosting population fecundity and size. The proportion of gravid females doubled, and variance in phenotypic variation of male secondary sexual characters (i.e. gnathopods) was significantly reduced. While future climate can enhance individual growth and survival, it may also reduce constraints on mechanisms of reproduction such that enhanced intra-generational productivity and reproductive success transfers to subsequent generations. Where both intra and intergenerational production is enhanced, population sizes might boom.