Effects of resource variation during early life and adult social environment on contest outcomes in burying beetles: a context-dependent silver spoon strategy?
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Good early nutritional conditions may confer a lasting fitness advantage over individuals suffering poor early conditions (a 'silver spoon' effect). Alternatively, if early conditions predict the likely adult environment, adaptive plastic responses might maximize individual performance when developmental and adult conditions match (environmental-matching effect). Here, we test for silver spoon and environmental-matching effects by manipulating the early nutritional environment of Nicrophorus vespilloides burying beetles. We manipulated nutrition during two specific early developmental windows: the larval environment and the post-eclosion environment. We then tested contest success in relation to variation in adult social environmental quality experienced (defined according to whether contest opponents were smaller (good environment) or larger (poor environment) than the focal individual). Variation in the larval environment influenced adult body size but not contest success per se for a given adult social environment experienced (an 'indirect' silver spoon effect). Variation in post-eclosion environment affected contest success dependent on the quality of the adult environment experienced (a context-dependent 'direct' silver spoon effect). By contrast, there was no evidence for environmental-matching. The results demonstrate the importance of social environmental context in determining how variation in nutrition in early life affects success as an adult.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Copyright © 2015 The Royal Society
The data have been deposited in the Open Research Exeter (ORE) data repository, and are freely available at http://hdl.handle.net/10871/14720.
Vol. 281, Iss. 1785, pp. 20133102
Place of publication