Plasticity of fertilization rates under varying temperature in the broadcast spawning mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis

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    Abstract

    © 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Oceans are a huge sink for the increased heat associated with anthropogenic climate change, and it is vital to understand the heat tolerance of marine organisms at all life stages to accurately predict species’ responses. In broadcast spawning marine invertebrates, reproduction is a vulnerable process in which sperm and eggs are released directly into the open water. Gametes are then exposed to fluctuating environmental conditions that may impact their fertilizing capacity. Using the broadcast spawning Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, as a model species, we performed blocks of factorial mating crosses to assess the variance in fertilization rates among individuals under both ambient and elevated temperatures. Overall, we found a small, but significant decline in fertilization rates with elevated temperatures. However, there was substantial plasticity in responses, with particular mussels having increased fertilization under elevated temperatures, although the majority showed decreased fertilization rates. Our results suggest possible future reproductive costs to ocean warming in M. galloprovincialis, although it is also possible that genetic variation for thermal sensitivity may allow for adaptation to changing environmental conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6578-6585
    Number of pages8
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Volume6
    Issue number18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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