Tommy Norin, Lauren E. Rowsey, Thomas M. Houslay, Connor Reeve, Ben Speers-Roesch

Among-individual variation in thermal plasticity of fish metabolic rates causes profound variation in temperature-specific trait repeatability, but does not co-vary with behavioural plasticity

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

Conspecifics of the same age and size differ consistently in the pace with which they expend energy. This among-individual variation in metabolic rate is thought to influence behavioural variation, since differences in energy requirements should motivate behaviours that facilitate energy acquisition, such as being bold or active in foraging. While there is evidence for links between metabolic rate and behaviour in constant environments, we know little about whether metabolic rate and behaviour change together when the environment changes—that is, if metabolic and behavioural plasticity co-vary. We investigated this using a fish that becomes dormant in winter and strongly reduces its activity when the environment cools, the cunner ( Tautogolabrus adspersus ). We found strong and predictable among-individual variation in thermal plasticity of metabolic rates, from resting to maximum levels, but no evidence for among-individual variation in thermal plasticity of movement activity, meaning that these key physiological and behavioural traits change independently when the environment changes. The strong among-individual variation in metabolic rate plasticity resulted in much higher repeatability (among-individual consistency) of metabolic rates at warm than cold temperatures, indicating that the potential for metabolic rate to evolve under selection is temperature-dependent, as repeatability can set the upper limit to heritability. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The evolutionary significance of variation in metabolic rates’.

Need a simple solution for managing your BibTeX entries? Explore CiteDrive!

  • Web-based, modern reference management
  • Collaborate and share with fellow researchers
  • Integration with Overleaf
  • Comprehensive BibTeX/BibLaTeX support
  • Save articles and websites directly from your browser
  • Search for new articles from a database of tens of millions of references
Try out CiteDrive

More from our Archive