Genetic and environmental effects on the scaling of metabolic rate with body size
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Experimental Biology. 2019, 222 1-7. 10.1242/jeb.193243
Metabolic rate (MR) often scales with body mass (BM) following a power function of the form MR=aBMb, where log(a) is the allometric intercept and b is the allometric exponent (i.e. slope on a log–log scale). The variational properties of b have been debated, but very few studies have tested for genetic variance in b, and none have tested for a genotype-by-environment (G×E) interaction in b. Consequently, the short-term evolutionary potentials of both b and its phenotypic plasticity remain unknown. Using 10 clones of a population of Daphnia magna, we estimated the genetic variance in b and assessed whether a G×E interaction affected b. We measured MR on juveniles of different sizes reared and measured at three temperatures (17, 22 and 28°C). Overall, b decreased with increasing temperature. We found no evidence of genetic variance in b at any temperature, and thus no G×E interaction in b. However, we found a significant G×E interaction in size-specific MR. Using simulations, we show how this G×E interaction can generate genetic variation in the ontogenetic allometric slope of animals experiencing directional changes in temperature during growth. This suggests that b can evolve despite having limited genetic variation at constant temperatures.