In the new scientific paper, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, and an academic letter recently published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, University of Lincoln evolutionary ecologist Dr Graziella Iossa and behavioural ecologist Dr Paul Eady explain how the temperature at which an animal develops can impact its reproductive behaviour and physiology.
Dr Iossa said: “It is well known that the reason why testes are usually located outside the body cavity in male mammals is because sperm is damaged by excessive heat inside the body. However, it is now becoming clear that when subjected to heat stress, males become infertile before females do.
“It is not only intriguing that males and females show different sensitivity to temperature stress, it may also tell us something about how species will be affected by climate change and how we might buffer or tackle these sensitivities.”
Dr Iossa and Dr Eady, from the School of Life Sciences at Lincoln, have been leading research in this area for a number of years. Their most recent work, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, examined sperm production and the copulatory behaviour of male and female Indian meal moths.