Hatch success and temperature-dependent development time in two broadly distributed topminnows (Fundulidae)

Jacob F. Schaefer, University of Southern Mississippi


Metabolic scaling laws predict a variety of emergent properties of biological systems based on relationships among temperature, body size, and rates of physiological processes. These models have been criticized as being overly simplistic and not accounting for directional variability arising from evolutionary tradeoffs. I measured hatch success and egg development time at six temperatures for 12 populations throughout the latitudinal range of two broadly distributed topminnows (Fundulus). I asked if hatch success and development time differed between the species and northern and southern populations. Hatch success reaction norms suggested that the more broadly (and northern) distributed Fundulus notatus was more eurythermic with a lower optima and broader performance breadth than Fundulus olivaceus. Temperature explained most variability in mass-corrected development time. Development time differed between the species, but not northern and southern populations. Deviations from predictions of universal scaling laws were most pronounced away from specie's thermal optima.