Climate Change and Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination: Can Individual Plasticity in Nesting Phenology Prevent Extreme Sex Ratios?

Lisa Schwanz, Fredric Janzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Under temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), temperatures experienced by embryos during development determine the sex of the offspring. Consequently, populations of organisms with TSD have the potential to be strongly impacted by climatic warming that could bias offspring sex ratio, a fundamental demographic parameter involved in population dynamics. Moreover, many taxa with TSD are imperiled, so research on this phenomenon, particularly long-term field study, has assumed great urgency. Recently, turtles with TSD have joined the diverse list of taxa that have demonstrated population-level changes in breeding phenology in response to recent climate change. This raises the possibility that any adverse impacts of climate change on populations may be alleviated by individual plasticity in nesting phenology. Here, we examine data from a long-term study on a population of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) to determine whether changes in phenology are due to individual plasticity and whether individual plasticity in the timing of nesting has the capacity to offset the sex ratio effects of a rise in climatic temperature. We find that individual females show plasticity in the date of first nesting each year, and that this plasticity depends on the climate from the previous winter. First nesting date is not repeatable within individuals, suggesting that it would not respond to selection. Sex ratios of hatchlings within a nest declined nonsignificantly over the nesting season. However, small increases in summer temperature had a much stronger effect on nest sex ratios than did laying nests earlier in the season. For this and other reasons, it seems unlikely that individual plasticity in the timing of nesting will offset the effects of climate change on sex ratios in this population, and we hypothesize that this conclusion applies to other populations with TSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-834
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Climate Change
Sex Ratio
Climate change
Plasticity
phenology
sex ratio
climate change
Temperature
gender
temperature
Population
Turtles
nests
turtles
Chrysemys picta
Population dynamics
Population Dynamics
Climate
global warming
Embryonic Development

Cite this

@article{8f6c3db2eb5742fc8f73c6ec4c739867,
title = "Climate Change and Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination: Can Individual Plasticity in Nesting Phenology Prevent Extreme Sex Ratios?",
abstract = "Under temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), temperatures experienced by embryos during development determine the sex of the offspring. Consequently, populations of organisms with TSD have the potential to be strongly impacted by climatic warming that could bias offspring sex ratio, a fundamental demographic parameter involved in population dynamics. Moreover, many taxa with TSD are imperiled, so research on this phenomenon, particularly long-term field study, has assumed great urgency. Recently, turtles with TSD have joined the diverse list of taxa that have demonstrated population-level changes in breeding phenology in response to recent climate change. This raises the possibility that any adverse impacts of climate change on populations may be alleviated by individual plasticity in nesting phenology. Here, we examine data from a long-term study on a population of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) to determine whether changes in phenology are due to individual plasticity and whether individual plasticity in the timing of nesting has the capacity to offset the sex ratio effects of a rise in climatic temperature. We find that individual females show plasticity in the date of first nesting each year, and that this plasticity depends on the climate from the previous winter. First nesting date is not repeatable within individuals, suggesting that it would not respond to selection. Sex ratios of hatchlings within a nest declined nonsignificantly over the nesting season. However, small increases in summer temperature had a much stronger effect on nest sex ratios than did laying nests earlier in the season. For this and other reasons, it seems unlikely that individual plasticity in the timing of nesting will offset the effects of climate change on sex ratios in this population, and we hypothesize that this conclusion applies to other populations with TSD.",
author = "Lisa Schwanz and Fredric Janzen",
year = "2008",
doi = "10.1086/590220",
language = "English",
volume = "81",
pages = "826--834",
journal = "Physiological Zoology",
issn = "0031-935X",
publisher = "University of Chicago",

}

Climate Change and Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination: Can Individual Plasticity in Nesting Phenology Prevent Extreme Sex Ratios? / Schwanz, Lisa; Janzen, Fredric.

In: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Vol. 81, 2008, p. 826-834.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Climate Change and Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination: Can Individual Plasticity in Nesting Phenology Prevent Extreme Sex Ratios?

AU - Schwanz, Lisa

AU - Janzen, Fredric

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Under temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), temperatures experienced by embryos during development determine the sex of the offspring. Consequently, populations of organisms with TSD have the potential to be strongly impacted by climatic warming that could bias offspring sex ratio, a fundamental demographic parameter involved in population dynamics. Moreover, many taxa with TSD are imperiled, so research on this phenomenon, particularly long-term field study, has assumed great urgency. Recently, turtles with TSD have joined the diverse list of taxa that have demonstrated population-level changes in breeding phenology in response to recent climate change. This raises the possibility that any adverse impacts of climate change on populations may be alleviated by individual plasticity in nesting phenology. Here, we examine data from a long-term study on a population of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) to determine whether changes in phenology are due to individual plasticity and whether individual plasticity in the timing of nesting has the capacity to offset the sex ratio effects of a rise in climatic temperature. We find that individual females show plasticity in the date of first nesting each year, and that this plasticity depends on the climate from the previous winter. First nesting date is not repeatable within individuals, suggesting that it would not respond to selection. Sex ratios of hatchlings within a nest declined nonsignificantly over the nesting season. However, small increases in summer temperature had a much stronger effect on nest sex ratios than did laying nests earlier in the season. For this and other reasons, it seems unlikely that individual plasticity in the timing of nesting will offset the effects of climate change on sex ratios in this population, and we hypothesize that this conclusion applies to other populations with TSD.

AB - Under temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), temperatures experienced by embryos during development determine the sex of the offspring. Consequently, populations of organisms with TSD have the potential to be strongly impacted by climatic warming that could bias offspring sex ratio, a fundamental demographic parameter involved in population dynamics. Moreover, many taxa with TSD are imperiled, so research on this phenomenon, particularly long-term field study, has assumed great urgency. Recently, turtles with TSD have joined the diverse list of taxa that have demonstrated population-level changes in breeding phenology in response to recent climate change. This raises the possibility that any adverse impacts of climate change on populations may be alleviated by individual plasticity in nesting phenology. Here, we examine data from a long-term study on a population of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) to determine whether changes in phenology are due to individual plasticity and whether individual plasticity in the timing of nesting has the capacity to offset the sex ratio effects of a rise in climatic temperature. We find that individual females show plasticity in the date of first nesting each year, and that this plasticity depends on the climate from the previous winter. First nesting date is not repeatable within individuals, suggesting that it would not respond to selection. Sex ratios of hatchlings within a nest declined nonsignificantly over the nesting season. However, small increases in summer temperature had a much stronger effect on nest sex ratios than did laying nests earlier in the season. For this and other reasons, it seems unlikely that individual plasticity in the timing of nesting will offset the effects of climate change on sex ratios in this population, and we hypothesize that this conclusion applies to other populations with TSD.

U2 - 10.1086/590220

DO - 10.1086/590220

M3 - Article

VL - 81

SP - 826

EP - 834

JO - Physiological Zoology

JF - Physiological Zoology

SN - 0031-935X

ER -