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Fluctuating asymmetry and environmental stress: understanding the role of trait history

Greet De Coster, Stefan Van Dongen, Phillista Malaki, Muchai Muchane, Angelica Alcantara-Exposito UGent, Hans Matheve UGent and Luc Lens UGent (2013) PLOS ONE. 8(3).
abstract
While fluctuating asymmetry (FA; small, random deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits) is widely regarded as a proxy for environmental and genetic stress effects, empirical associations between FA and stress are often weak or heterogeneous among traits. A conceptually important source of heterogeneity in relationships with FA is variation in the selection history of the trait(s) under study, i.e. traits that experienced a (recent) history of directional change are predicted to be developmentally less stable, potentially through the loss of canalizing modifiers. Here we applied X-ray photography on museum specimens and live captures to test to what extent the magnitude of FA and FA-stress relationships covary with directional shifts in traits related to the flight apparatus of four East-African rainforest birds that underwent recent shifts in habitat quality and landscape connectivity. Both the magnitude and direction of phenotypic change varied among species, with some traits increasing in size while others decreased or maintained their original size. In three of the four species, traits that underwent larger directional changes were less strongly buffered against random perturbations during their development, and traits that increased in size over time developed more asymmetrically than those that decreased. As we believe that spurious relationships due to biased comparisons of historic (museum specimens) and current (field captures) samples can be ruled out, these results support the largely untested hypothesis that directional shifts may increase the sensitivity of developing traits to random perturbations of environmental or genetic origin.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
DEVELOPMENTAL STABILITY, FRAGMENTED AFROTROPICAL FOREST, SEXUAL SELECTION, DIRECTIONAL ASYMMETRY, HABITAT DISTURBANCE, BODY-SIZE, FITNESS, CONSERVATION, PATTERNS, INSTABILITY
journal title
PLOS ONE
PLoS One
volume
8
issue
3
article number
e57966
pages
8 pages
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000315637900066
JCR category
MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES
JCR impact factor
3.534 (2013)
JCR rank
8/55 (2013)
JCR quartile
1 (2013)
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0057966
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
4258769
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-4258769
date created
2014-01-31 12:23:47
date last changed
2016-12-21 15:42:50
@article{4258769,
  abstract     = {While fluctuating asymmetry (FA; small, random deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits) is widely regarded as a proxy for environmental and genetic stress effects, empirical associations between FA and stress are often weak or heterogeneous among traits. A conceptually important source of heterogeneity in relationships with FA is variation in the selection history of the trait(s) under study, i.e. traits that experienced a (recent) history of directional change are predicted to be developmentally less stable, potentially through the loss of canalizing modifiers. Here we applied X-ray photography on museum specimens and live captures to test to what extent the magnitude of FA and FA-stress relationships covary with directional shifts in traits related to the flight apparatus of four East-African rainforest birds that underwent recent shifts in habitat quality and landscape connectivity. Both the magnitude and direction of phenotypic change varied among species, with some traits increasing in size while others decreased or maintained their original size. In three of the four species, traits that underwent larger directional changes were less strongly buffered against random perturbations during their development, and traits that increased in size over time developed more asymmetrically than those that decreased. As we believe that spurious relationships due to biased comparisons of historic (museum specimens) and current (field captures) samples can be ruled out, these results support the largely untested hypothesis that directional shifts may increase the sensitivity of developing traits to random perturbations of environmental or genetic origin.},
  articleno    = {e57966},
  author       = {De Coster, Greet and Van Dongen, Stefan and Malaki, Phillista and Muchane, Muchai and Alcantara-Exposito, Angelica and Matheve, Hans and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  keyword      = {DEVELOPMENTAL STABILITY,FRAGMENTED AFROTROPICAL FOREST,SEXUAL SELECTION,DIRECTIONAL ASYMMETRY,HABITAT DISTURBANCE,BODY-SIZE,FITNESS,CONSERVATION,PATTERNS,INSTABILITY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {8},
  title        = {Fluctuating asymmetry and environmental stress: understanding the role of trait history},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057966},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2013},
}

Chicago
De Coster, Greet, Stefan Van Dongen, Phillista Malaki, Muchai Muchane, Angelica Alcantara-Exposito, Hans Matheve, and Luc Lens. 2013. “Fluctuating Asymmetry and Environmental Stress: Understanding the Role of Trait History.” Plos One 8 (3).
APA
De Coster, Greet, Van Dongen, S., Malaki, P., Muchane, M., Alcantara-Exposito, A., Matheve, H., & Lens, L. (2013). Fluctuating asymmetry and environmental stress: understanding the role of trait history. PLOS ONE, 8(3).
Vancouver
1.
De Coster G, Van Dongen S, Malaki P, Muchane M, Alcantara-Exposito A, Matheve H, et al. Fluctuating asymmetry and environmental stress: understanding the role of trait history. PLOS ONE. 2013;8(3).
MLA
De Coster, Greet, Stefan Van Dongen, Phillista Malaki, et al. “Fluctuating Asymmetry and Environmental Stress: Understanding the Role of Trait History.” PLOS ONE 8.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.