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Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder.
Sci Rep. 2019 10 29; 9(1):15499.SR

Abstract

Human-induced global climate change is exerting increasingly strong selective pressures on a myriad of fitness traits that affect organisms. These traits, in turn, are influenced by a variety of environmental parameters such as temperature and precipitation, particularly in ectothermic taxa such as amphibians and reptiles. Over the past several decades, severe and prolonged episodes of drought are becoming commonplace throughout North America. Documentation of responses to this environmental crisis, however, is often incomplete, particularly in cryptic species. Here, we investigated reproduction in a population of pitviper snakes (copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix), a live-bearing capital breeder. This population experienced a severe drought from 2012 through 2016. We tested whether declines in number of progeny were linked to this drought. Decline in total number offspring was significant, but offspring length and mass were unaffected. Reproductive output was positively impacted by precipitation and negatively impacted by high temperatures. We hypothesized that severe declines of prey species (e.g., cicada, amphibians, and small mammals) reduced energy acquisition during drought, negatively impacting reproductive output of the snakes. Support for this view was found using the periodical cicada (Magicicada spp.) as a proxy for prey availability. Various climate simulations, including our own qualitative analysis, predict that drought events will continue unabated throughout the geographic distribution of copperheads which suggests that long-term monitoring of populations are needed to better understand geographic variation in drought resilience and cascading impacts of drought phenomena on ecosystem function.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Biology, Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 29303, USA. smithcf@wofford.edu. The Copperhead Institute, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 29323, USA. smithcf@wofford.edu. Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo, New Mexico, 88056, USA. smithcf@wofford.edu.The Copperhead Institute, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 29323, USA. Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo, New Mexico, 88056, USA. Department of Biology and Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303, USA.The Copperhead Institute, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 29323, USA. Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo, New Mexico, 88056, USA.Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, 61820, USA. Department of Entomology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, 61801, USA.Department of Biology, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15232, USA.The Copperhead Institute, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 29323, USA. davis63@illinois.edu. Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, 61820, USA. davis63@illinois.edu.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31664072

Citation

Smith, Charles F., et al. "Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder." Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 2019, p. 15499.
Smith CF, Schuett GW, Reiserer RS, et al. Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):15499.
Smith, C. F., Schuett, G. W., Reiserer, R. S., Dana, C. E., Collyer, M. L., & Davis, M. A. (2019). Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 15499. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51810-9
Smith CF, et al. Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder. Sci Rep. 2019 10 29;9(1):15499. PubMed PMID: 31664072.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Drought-induced Suppression of Female Fecundity in a Capital Breeder. AU - Smith,Charles F, AU - Schuett,Gordon W, AU - Reiserer,Randall S, AU - Dana,Catherine E, AU - Collyer,Michael L, AU - Davis,Mark A, Y1 - 2019/10/29/ PY - 2019/06/26/received PY - 2019/10/07/accepted PY - 2019/10/31/entrez PY - 2019/10/31/pubmed PY - 2019/10/31/medline SP - 15499 EP - 15499 JF - Scientific reports JO - Sci Rep VL - 9 IS - 1 N2 - Human-induced global climate change is exerting increasingly strong selective pressures on a myriad of fitness traits that affect organisms. These traits, in turn, are influenced by a variety of environmental parameters such as temperature and precipitation, particularly in ectothermic taxa such as amphibians and reptiles. Over the past several decades, severe and prolonged episodes of drought are becoming commonplace throughout North America. Documentation of responses to this environmental crisis, however, is often incomplete, particularly in cryptic species. Here, we investigated reproduction in a population of pitviper snakes (copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix), a live-bearing capital breeder. This population experienced a severe drought from 2012 through 2016. We tested whether declines in number of progeny were linked to this drought. Decline in total number offspring was significant, but offspring length and mass were unaffected. Reproductive output was positively impacted by precipitation and negatively impacted by high temperatures. We hypothesized that severe declines of prey species (e.g., cicada, amphibians, and small mammals) reduced energy acquisition during drought, negatively impacting reproductive output of the snakes. Support for this view was found using the periodical cicada (Magicicada spp.) as a proxy for prey availability. Various climate simulations, including our own qualitative analysis, predict that drought events will continue unabated throughout the geographic distribution of copperheads which suggests that long-term monitoring of populations are needed to better understand geographic variation in drought resilience and cascading impacts of drought phenomena on ecosystem function. SN - 2045-2322 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31664072/Drought-induced_Suppression_of_Female_Fecundity_in_a_Capital_Breeder L2 - http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51810-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
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