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Maternally determined adaptation to acidity in Rana arvalis: Are laboratory and field estimates of embryonic stress tolerance congruent?

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Geographic variation indicating local adaptation, as well as its quantitative genetic basis, is commonly investigated in common garden experiments in the laboratory. However, the applicability of laboratory results to the complex conditions experienced by populations in the wild may be limited. Our previous laboratory experiments showed maternally determined local adaptation in embryonic acid-stress tolerance (viz. survival) of the moor frog, Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1842. Here we tested whether this laboratory finding holds even when embryos are exposed to acid stress in the wild. We conducted reciprocal crosses between an acid-origin population and a neutral-origin population of R. arvalis and transplanted the embryos to an acid site (pH~4) in the field. Embryonic survival was much lower in the field experiment than in previous laboratory experiments, but, consistent with laboratory work, embryos from acid-origin females had threefold higher survival than embryos from neutral-origin females. These results suggest that laboratory tests can provide appropriate estimates of among population variation, as well as the quantitative genetic basis of acid-stress tolerance in amphibians.

Les expériences de jardin commun en laboratoire servent souvent à déterminer la variation géographique qui est le reflet de l’adaptation locale, ainsi que la base génétique quantitative de cette variation. Toutefois, l’applicabilité des résultats de laboratoire aux conditions complexes dans lesquelles les populations vivent en nature peut être limitée. Nos expériences antérieures en laboratoire ont montré l’existence d’une adaptation locale d’origine maternelle de tolérance (survie) embryonnaire à un stress acide chez la grenouille des champs, Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1842. Nous vérifions maintenant si ces résultats de laboratoire s’appliquent aussi lorsque les embryons sont exposés à un stress acide en nature. Nous avons procédé à des croisements réciproques entre des populations de R. arvalis issues de milieux acides et neutres et avons transplanté les embryons dans un site acide (pH ~4) en nature. La survie des embryons est beaucoup plus faible lors de l’expérience de terrain que durant les expériences antérieures en laboratoire, mais, en accord avec les résultats de laboratoire, les embryons provenant des femelles de milieu acide ont une survie trois supérieure à celle des embryons issus de femelles de milieu neutre. Ces observations indiquent que les tests de laboratoire peuvent fournir des estimations pertinentes de la variation entre les populations, ainsi que la base génétique quantitative de la tolérance au stress acide chez les amphibiens.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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