The thermal dependency of locomotor performance evolves rapidly within an invasive species

Georgia K. Kosmala, Gregory P. Brown, Keith A. Christian, Cameron M. Hudson, Richard Shine

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    Abstract

    Biological invasions can stimulate rapid shifts in organismal performance, via both plasticity and adaptation. We can distinguish between these two proximate mechanisms by rearing offspring from populations under identical conditions and measuring their locomotor abilities in standardized trials. We collected adult cane toads (Rhinella marina) from invasive populations that inhabit regions of Australia with different climatic conditions. We bred those toads and raised their offspring under common-garden conditions before testing their locomotor performance. At high (but not low) temperatures, offspring of individuals from a hotter location (northwestern Australia) outperformed offspring of conspecifics from a cooler location (northeastern Australia). This disparity indicates that, within less than 100 years, thermal performance in cane toads has adapted to the novel abiotic challenges that cane toads have encountered during their invasion of tropical Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4403-4408
    Number of pages6
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Volume8
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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