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Arias, M. B., Poupin, M. J., & Lardies, M. A. (2011). Plasticity of life-cycle, physiological thermal traits and Hsp70 gene expression in an insect along the ontogeny: Effect of temperature variability. J. Therm. Biol., 36(6), 355–362.
Abstract: It is considered that extreme environmental temperature, rather than mean temperatures exert a selective pressure in ectotherms. Consequently, it is important to understand how the predicted increase in temperature variance with a higher frequency of extreme events in climate change is likely to impact on organisms. Thermal tolerance traits (i.e. chill-coma, recovery time, Hsp70 expression) are directly linked with performance in ectotherms and have consequences in life-history traits. We examined the effects of temperature variability on thermal tolerance and life-history traits through ontogeny of an insect with a complex life-cycle: the yellow mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor. We established two common gardens with 100 recently ovoposited eggs each. Larvae were reared from hatching to adult on either a variable (mean=18 degrees C and a variance of 6.8 degrees C) or constant (18 +/- 1 degrees C) thermal environment. Development rate and growth rate were similar between thermal environments. Results indicate that larvae reared in a variable environment are more cold-tolerant than larvae of a constant environment. Interestingly, these results are reversed in the adult stage, outlining an inter-stage physiological cost. Gene expression pattern of an Hsp70 gene was well correlated with larval thermotolerance to cold in the variable environment but higher gene expression in adults is not correlated with individual's thermotolerance. We conclude that chill-coma, recovery time and Hsp70 gene expression are plastic in response to a thermal environment but also change significantly their responses depending on the ontogenetic stage, implying that the response of adult individuals is linked to early stages of the life-cycle. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved,