The relative importance of intrinsic constraints imposed by evolved physiological trade-offs versus the proximate effects of temperature for interspecific variation in embryonic development time remains unclear. Understanding this distinction is important because slow development due to evolved trade-offs can yield phenotypic benefits, whereas slow development from low temperature can yield costs. We experimentally increased embryonic temperature in free-living tropical and north temperate songbird species to test these alternatives. Warmer temperatures consistently shortened development time without costs to embryo mass or metabolism. However, proximate effects of temperature played an increasingly stronger role than intrinsic constraints for development time among species with colder natural incubation temperatures. Long development times of tropical birds have been thought to primarily reflect evolved physiological trade-offs that facilitate their greater longevity. In contrast, our results indicate a much stronger role of temperature in embryonic development time than currently thought.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Proximate effects of temperature versus evolved intrinsic constraints for embryonic development times among temperate and tropical songbirds|
|Series title||Scientific Reports|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Seattle|
|Description||Article number 895; 9 p.|