Dispersal-reproduction trade-offs in Drosophila: implications for geographic distributions

De Araujo, Liana Isabel (2019-04)

Thesis (MScConsEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Life-history and performance trade-offs are common among insects. One major trade-off reported and frequently studied in a handful of taxa (e.g. butterflies, moths and crickets) is a dispersal-reproduction trade-off, such that individuals within a species that choose to disperse typically sacrifice reproductive output. However, the generality of this hypothesis has not been well examined, and its implications for invasion biology, geographic distributions and responses to climate change have yet to be fully determined. Here, I aimed to experimentally measure the magnitude and direction of potential dispersal-reproduction trade-offs between flies that choose to disperse (dispersers) and those that do not (resident) from five Drosophila species collected within South Africa, varying in their ecology. Next, to better understand how flight performance may be correlated to geographic range extent and potential responses to climate variability, I estimated the thermal performance curves of flight ability in 11 Drosophilidae species after two generations under standard laboratory conditions, and tested if any major morphological or ecological factors (e.g. sex, body mass, wing loading, geographic range size) predicted traits of thermal flight performance curves (optimum temperature, maximum performance, breadth of performance). My results showed two major sets of findings. First, there was only weak support for the dispersal-reproduction trade-off and that the reproduction trait scored (egg number vs. adult survival) yields different outcomes. For reproductive fitness (offspring’s adult emergence rates), only one of the five species (Drosophila melanogaster) tested showed statistically significant evidence of the trade-off in the direction expected. Furthermore, there was no correlation between the magnitude of the trade-off and geographic distribution ranking. Second, aspects of thermal performance curves for flight differed between species; however, the best explanatory model of these flight responses included significant positive effects of test temperature and wing area. Rank of the breadth of geographic distribution and phylogeny failed to explain significant variation in any of the traits of thermal flight performance curves in these 11 species. In conclusion, I argue that dispersal-reproduction trade-offs are unlikely to contribute greatly to an insect species’ invasion success or its geographic distribution, although environmental temperature and wing size will mediate dispersal responses upon introduction into novel environments. This study therefore suggests that dispersal-reproduction trade-offs are not as common as might have been expected when assessed systematically, at least not in the genus Drosophila, and moreover, that the extent of such trade-offs, and their magnitude and direction, require further investigation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kompromieë in lewensgeskiedenis en prestasie is algemeen onder insekte. Een belangrike kompromie wat dikwels berig word en gereeld bestudeer word in 'n handjievol taksa (bv. skoenlappers, motte en krieke) is 'n verspreiding-voortplantingskompromie, waarvolgens individue van 'n spesie wat kies om te versprei hulle reproduktiewe uitsette prysgee. Die algemene toespasbaarheid van hierdie hipotese is egter nog nie goed ondersoek nie en die implikasies daarvan vir indringerbiologie, geografiese verspreiding en reaksies op klimaatsverandering is nog nie ten volle bepaal nie. Hier het ek dus eksperimenteel die omvang en rigting van potensiële verspreiding-voortplantingskompromieë getoets tussen vlieë wat versprei (verspreider) en diegene wat nie versprei nie (inwoner) in vyf Drosophila-spesies met variasie in hul ekologie wat in Suid-Afrika versamel is. Voorts, om te bepaal of vlugprestasie korreleer met geografiese verspreiding sowel as potensiële reaksies op klimaatsveranderlikheid, het ek die termiese-prestasiekurwes van vlugvermoë in 11 Drosophilidae-spesies bepaal na twee generasies onder standaard laboratoriumkondisies. Ek het ook getoets of enige morfologiese of ekologiese faktore (bv. geslag, liggaamsmassa, vlerk-lading, geografieseverspreiding) belangrik is om die termiese vlug prestasie kurwes (optimum temperatuur, maksimum prestasie, breedte van prestasie) te beskryf. My resultate het twee belangrike uitkomste gehad. Eerstens, was daar slegs geringe ondersteuning vir die verspreiding-voortplantingskompromie en die uitkomste het verskil afhangende van die voortplantingskenmerk wat getoets is (getal eiers teenoor volwasse oorlewing). Vir reproduktiewe fiksheid (aantal volwasse nageslag), het slegs een van die vyf spesies (Drosophila melanogaster) statisties beduidende ondersteuning getoon vir die verspreiding-voortplantingskompromie. Daar was ook geen verband tussen die omvang van die kompromie en die rangorde van die geografiese verspreiding nie. Tweedens, aspekte van termiese-prestasiekurwes vir vlug het verskil tussen spesies en die beste verklarende model het beduidende positiewe effekte van toetstemperatuur en vlerkarea ingesluit. Rangorde van die breedte van geografieseverspreiding en filogenie het versuim om betekenisvolle variasie in enige van die eienskappe van termiese-prestasiekurwes in die 11 spesies te verduidelik. Ten slotte voer ek aan dat ‘n verspreiding-voortplantingskompromie waarskynlik nie bydra tot die sukses van ‘n insekspesies se verspreidings sukses of geografiese verspreiding nie, alhoewel omgewingstemperatuur en vlerkgrootte verspreiding in nuwe omgewings kan bevorder. Hierdie studie dui dus daarop dat verspreiding-voortplantingskompromieë nie so algemeen voorkom as wat verwag sou word wanneer dit sistematies geëvalueer word nie, aldus nie in die genus Drosophila nie. Die omvang en rigting van hierdie kompromieë vereis verdere ondersoek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105582
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