Environmental stress in natural populations - from genes to communities

Le 03 Avril 2020
Virtual seminar, broadcasted online

Marjo A. K. Saastamoinen

University of Helsinki, Finland



Organisms are constantly challenged by environmental variation, for example in resource quality, which subsequently influence life history variation and evolution in natural populations. We are studying life-history responses and underlying mechanisms to cope with environmental stress, namely changes in host plant quality induced by drought, in the Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia) butterfly. With effectively coupling laboratory and field based studies, we show how developmental time, resulting body mass as well as subsequent adult fitness-related traits are shaped by variation in food quality. We further demonstrate that some of the coping mechanisms include developmental switches as well as behavioural adjustments in both larvae and adults, yet are little affected by individual’s gut microbiome. Variation among families suggests genetic variation in the observed responses, which are further assessed by genomic analyses. Our on-going work also suggests potential role of trans-generational effects and epigenetic mechanisms in influencing stress-responses. Our specific questions are addressed within an ecologically relevant context, as there is spatial and temporal variation in summer drought and host plant quality, and as both temperature and precipitation from spring to late summer greatly impact the metapopulation dynamics of the butterfly. I will finish my talk with some future perspectives related to the potential impacts of climate change, namely extreme summer droughts, on this natural population. Working with the large metapopulation of the Glanville fritillary butterfly gives us a unique opportunity to assess the processes operating from genes within individuals all the way to metapopulation and community level dynamics.
Selectec Publications:
van Bergen E, Dallas T, DiLeo M, Kahilainen A, Mattila ALK, Luoto M & Saastamoinen M. Summer drought decreases the predictability of local extinctions in a butterfly metapopulation (in review) BioRxiv doi.org/10.1101/863795 Schultz T, Vanhatalo J & Saastamoinen M (2019) Long-term demographic surveys reveal a consistent relationship between average occupancy and abundance within local populations of a butterfly metapopulation. Ecography 42: 1-12.
Minard G, Tikhonov G, Ovaskainen O & Saastamoinen M (2019) The microbiome of the Melitaea cinxia butterfly shows marked variation but is only little explained by host or host plant traits. Environmental Microbiology 21: 4253-4269.
Salgado AL, DiLeo MF & Saastamoinen M. Narrow oviposition preference of an insect herbivore risks survival under conditions of severe drought (in review) BioRxiv doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.24.005686
Kahilainen A, van Nouhuys S, Schultz T & Saastamoinen M (2018) Metapopulation dynamics in a changing climate: Increasing spatial synchrony in weather conditions drives metapopulation synchrony of a butterfly inhabiting a fragmented landscape. Global Change Biology 24: 4316-4329.
Contact: Olivier Dangles emanuel.fronhofer@umontpellier.fr
Contact du Comité SEEM: seem@services.cnrs.fr.   Contact du Labex CEMEB: cemeb-gestion@umontpellier.fr