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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 495:263-274 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10552

Sperm plasticity to seawater temperatures in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua is affected more by population origin than individual environmental exposure

J. Beirão1,2,*, C. F. Purchase1,2, B. F. Wringe1,2,3, I. A. Fleming1,3

1Fish Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 5S7, Canada
2Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 3X9, Canada
3Department of Ocean Sciences, Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 5S7, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Atlantic cod is a key species of the North Atlantic ecosystem whose distribution will likely be affected by climate change. Although general temperature effects on reproduction are known, there is a dearth of information on population and individual level life history and reproductive plasticity responses to temperature change. We tested the hypothesis that the sperm of Atlantic cod of different genetic backgrounds (southern versus more northerly Newfoundland and Labrador) and of different environmental histories (reared in indoor tanks and fed a forage diet versus reared in sea cages and fed pellets) have different average plastic responses to temperature. Male reproductive performance was examined at 4 temperatures by measuring sperm swimming characteristics at 10 and 30 s after motility activation. Genetic origin had a larger effect on sperm swimming characteristics than past environmental history. Moreover, groups derived from the southern population exhibited a more pronounced positive mean reaction norm than the group derived from the Newfoundland and Labrador population. This represents an example of cogradient variation as genotypes accentuate the thermal phenotypic plasticity. Even though there were differences between the groups in sperm swimming characteristics, this is unlikely sufficient to affect successful reproduction at the temperatures tested unless under sperm competition. Thus, sperm performance should not be a limiting factor for reproduction under predicted increases in sea surface temperatures.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Sperm swimming · Seawater temperature · Thermal reaction norms · Local adaption · Environmental history · Phenotypic plasticity · Cogradient variation


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Cite this article as: Beirão J, Purchase CF, Wringe BF, Fleming IA (2014) Sperm plasticity to seawater temperatures in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua is affected more by population origin than individual environmental exposure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 495:263-274. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10552

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