Thermal stress responses in expanding damselflies
The paper "Gene expression under thermal stress varies across a geographic range expansion front" is soon to appear in Molecular Ecology (Lancaster et al. 2016; doi: 10.1111/mec.13548). The study species was the common blue-tailed damselfly, which is interesting because it is currently expanding its range in the northern parts of its distribution, i.e. in Central Sweden. It is a quite common species and one can conduct nice temperature experiments with it. This makes it a good model species for understanding adaptation and acclimatisation during temperature-induced range expansions. In brief, we exposed damselflies from southern and central Sweden to heat and cold treatments, and then measured their gene expression responses to these conditions. We found that the southern and northern populations responded differently to the treatment, and our results were consistent with the ideas that there has been a release from selection on heat tolerance during the expansion and rapid adaptation to cooler climates at the expansion front.