Temperature variation experienced across a latitudinal range is tied to changes in lifespan and life history across multiple taxa. Two patterns of adaptation to latitudinal temperature variation have been documented – counter-gradient (or co-gradient) variation, and local adaptation. To determine how natural selection has shaped life history variation in a burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis, we quantified lifetime patterns of reproduction in two populations that represent the geographic and temperature extremes occupied by the species. Lifetime reproduction was quantified at two temperatures that represented conditions typical for each population. Burying beetles from different extremes of their geographic range show considerable variation in lifetime survival and reproduction at different temperatures. Patterns are generally consistent with the local adaptation hypothesis. However, at the higher temperature both populations have lower and equal numbers of offspring over a lifetime. High temperatures may create a constraint on offspring production because of the increased cost of maintaining the food source against bacterial decomposition. This temperature constraint on reproductive success may partially explain the absence of burying beetles from tropical environments, and may predict reductions in latitudinal range as global climate change proceeds.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Laidlaw, Clinton T., "Latitudinal Variation in Lifetime Survival and Reproduction in a Burying Beetle" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 5733.
life-history, cost of reproduction, dispersal, adaptation, latitudinal variation