Water availability and temperature induce changes in oxidative status during pregnancy in a viviparous lizard

Reproduction involves considerable reorganization in an organism's physiology that incurs potential toxicity for cells (e.g., oxidative stress) and decrease in fitness. This framework has been the cornerstone of the so-called 'oxidative cost of reproduction', a theory that remains controversial and relatively overlooked in non-model ectotherms. Here, we used two complementary approaches in natural and controlled conditions to test whether altered access to climate conditions (water and temperature resources) alters oxidative status and mediates reproductive trade-offs in viviparous populations of the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara). First, we examined whether access to free-standing water and differences in ambient temperature across 12 natural populations could be related to variation in oxidative status, reproductive effort and reproductive success. Second, we determined whether an experimental restriction to water triggers higher oxidative cost of reproduction and correlates with fitness measures (reproductive success, future survival rate and probability of future reproduction). Pregnant females exhibited higher sensitivity than males to natural or experimental limitations in temperature and water access. That is, in restricted environments, pregnant females with higher reproductive effort exhibited stronger oxidative damage despite enhanced non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity. Enhanced antioxidant defensive capacity in pregnant females was positively correlated with higher reproductive success, whereas elevated oxidative damage negatively correlated with offspring annual survival. Altogether, our results revealed a context-dependent oxidative cost of reproduction that was concomitant with a conflict in water demand from offspring. These new insights should be critical for understanding ectotherm responses to heat waves and summer droughts that are increasing in frequency and duration. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.


antioxidant capacity, ectotherm, fitness, pregnancy, reactive oxygen metabolites, temperature, water

How to cite
Dupoue Andreaz, Blaimont Pauline, Rozen-Rechels David, Richard Murielle, Meylan Sandrine, Clobert Jean, Miles Donald B., Martin Remi, Decenciere Beatriz, Agostini Simon, Le Galliard Jean-Francois (2020). Water availability and temperature induce changes in oxidative status during pregnancy in a viviparous lizard. Functional Ecology. 34 (2). 475-485. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13481, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00731/84315/

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