Effects of Maternal Stress on Lizard Heart Rate

Speaker: Dustin Owen, Penn State University

Date and Location

When (Date/Time)

December 6, 2017, 12:20 PM - 1:10 PM


104 Forest Resources Bldg.

Add to calendar


Ecology Grad Colloquium

Recently in vertebrates, maternally-derived stress hormones, glucocorticoids, have been shown as a significant inducer of transgenerational phenotypic plasticity. Offspring phenotypic responses are often interpreted as unavoidable negative side effects of maternal stress. Growing evidence supports the adaptive hypothesis for maternal stress whereby phenotypic responses in offspring may be adaptively matched to the local environment. While many studies have examined how maternal stress has influenced the post-natal trails of offspring, few studies have addressed the effects of maternal stress on the pre-natal life stage. We tested the hypothesis that stressed female eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) and their offspring have higher metabolic rates (i.e. heart rates).  This could result in faster growth, and increased respiratory capacity to facility survival in a stressful environment.