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Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science

Shama, Lisa N S (2017): Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatas) egg size and offspring size in four climate scenarios. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Shama, LNS (2017): The mean and variance of climate change in the oceans: hidden evolutionary potential under stochastic environmental variability in marine sticklebacks. Scientific Reports, 7(1),

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Increasing climate variability may pose an even greater risk to species than climate warming because temperature fluctuations can amplify adverse impacts of directional warming on fitness-related traits. Here, the influence of directional warming and increasing climate variability on marine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) offspring size variation was investigated by simulating changes to the mean and variance of ocean temperatures predicted under climate change. Reproductive traits of mothers and offspring size reaction norms across four climate scenarios were examined to assess the roles of standing genetic variation, transgenerational and within-generation plasticity in adaptive potential. Mothers acclimated to directional warming produced smaller eggs than mothers in constant, ambient temperatures, whereas mothers in a predictably variable environment (weekly change between temperatures) produced a range of egg sizes, possibly reflecting a diversified bet hedging strategy. Offspring size post-hatch was mostly influenced by genotype by environment interactions and not transgenerational effects. Offspring size reaction norms also differed depending on the type of environmental predictability (predictably variable vs. stochastic), with offspring reaching the largest sizes in the stochastic environment. Release of cryptic genetic variation for offspring size in the stochastic environment suggests hidden evolutionary potential in this wild population to respond to changes in environmental predictability.
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