Diet alters delayed selfing, inbreeding depression, and reproductive senescence in a freshwater snail
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 4, Issue 14, pages 2968–2977, July 2014
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2014; 4(14):2968–2977
- Issue published online: 21 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 30 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Received: 22 APR 2014
- College of Arts and Sciences at West Chester University
- Department of Biology at West Chester University
- Age at first reproduction;
- caloric restriction;
- mating system;
- transgenerational effects;
- waiting time
Reproductive success is a critical fitness attribute that is directly influenced by resource availability. Here, we investigate the effects of diet-based resource availability on three interrelated aspects of reproductive success: a change in mating system based on mate availability, consequent inbreeding depression, and the deterioration of reproductive efficiency with age (senescence). We employed a factorial experimental design using 22 full-sib families of the hermaphroditic freshwater snail Physa acuta to explore these interactions. Individual snails were reared in one of two mate-availability treatments (isolated [selfing] or occasionally paired [outcrossing]) and one of two diet treatments (boiled lettuce or Spirulina, an algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals). Spirulina-fed snails initiated reproduction at a 13% earlier age and 7% larger size than lettuce-fed snails. Spirulina also resulted in a 30% reduction in the time delay before selfing. Compared to lettuce, a diet of Spirulina increased inbreeding depression by 52% for egg hatching rate and 64% for posthatching juvenile survival. Furthermore, Spirulina led to a 15-fold increase in the rate of reproductive senescence compared with a diet of lettuce. These transgenerational, interactive effects of diet on inbreeding depression and reproductive senescence are discussed in the context of diet-induced phenotypic plasticity.