Predicting the impacts of climate change to biological systems relies on an understanding of the ability for species to acclimate to the projected environmental change through phenotypic plasticity. Determining the effects of higher temperatures on individual performance is made more complex by the potential for environmental conditions experienced in previous and current generations to independently affect phenotypic responses to high temperatures. We used a model coral reef fish to investigate the influence of thermal conditions experienced by adult breeding pairs and their parents on reproductive output and the quality of offspring produced. We found that more gradual warming over two generations resulted in greater plasticity of reproductive attributes, compared to fish that experienced the same increase in one generation. When fish experienced +3.0 °C experienced for two generations reproduction ceased in the expected future summer conditions (31.5 °C). Additionally, we found that transgenerational plasticity to +1.5 °C induced full restoration of previously thermally effect reproductive and offspring attributes, which was not possible with developmental plasticity alone. Our results suggest that transgenerational effects differ depending on the absolute thermal change and during what life stage the thermal change is experienced.


Donelson, J. M., Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia, jennifer.donelson@my.jcu.edu.au

Munday, P. L., Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia, philip.munday@jcu.edu.au

Booth, D., School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, david.booth@uts.edu.au


Oral presentation

Session #:05
Date: 06/24/2016
Time: 09:30
Location: 313 B

Presentation is given by student: No