Inbreeding depression is environmentally dependent, such that a population may suffer from inbreeding depression in one environment but not another. We examined the phenotypic responses of 35 inbred (F = 0.672) lineages of the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum in two different climatic environments. We found a significant environmental effect on males but not females. More important, we found that the rank fitness order of lineages differs between environments; lineages of high fitness in one environment may have low fitness in another environment. This change in rank is evident in a significant genotype‐by‐environment interaction for inbreeding depression for both females and males. These results suggest that even if we know the average environmental effect of inbreeding depression in a population, for any particular lineage measurements of inbreeding depression in one environment may not predict the level of inbreeding depression in another environment. Conservation biologists need to be aware of the environmental dependency of inbreeding depression when planning wildlife refuges or captive propagation programs for small populations. Ideally, captive propagation programs should maintain separate lineages for release efforts. Refuge design programs should consider maintaining a range of habitat types.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1994
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