The legacy of stress: How parental and early life experience shape organisms response to their environments
Summary: Organisms' ability to cope with environmental stressors is often attributed to differences in genetics or phenotype changes within a single generation. However, stress response can also change via parental effects, which occur when the environment experienced by parents influences the development of offspring, or through carryover effects, when an individual's previous experiences impact their subsequent characteristics. My research explores how these parental and carryover effects can impact organisms' responses to two key environmental stressors—predation risk and climate change—using two coastal systems. My work suggests that transgenerational and early life effects can strongly impact organisms and the communities in which they reside, and should be incorporated into our assessments of how organisms will respond to environmental change.
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