Fluctuating Asymmetry and Environmental Stress

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Life Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 9115

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Section of Biology and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7H, 9220 Aalborg East, Denmark
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Fluctuating asymmetry (as an estimator of developmental instability) is an interesting biomarker used to demonstrate effects of environmental stress.

We invite experimental, theoretical, and review papers addressing the application of measures of fluctuating asymmetry, directional asymmetry, and antisymmetry in the understanding of fitness and consequences in general of environmental stressors at the individual and the population level. We invite studies representing all taxa and at all levels or complexity.

We hope to see studies addressing how consequences of fluctuating asymmetry effectively differ from other types of responses to environmental stress. Are there interesting advancements in the measurements of fluctuating asymmetry? Are there advancements in the understanding of the development of fluctuating asymmetry? Are there advancements in the understanding of which environmental stressors that affect different types of fluctuating asymmetry differently? If fluctuating asymmetry should be considered a fitness estimator, it needs to be partly inherited; how big is the heritability of fluctuating asymmetry for a given trait? How much does the gene-environmental interaction affect the degree of fluctuating asymmetry? To which degree does fluctuating asymmetry have an evolutionary significance? All these questions need a deep attention in order to be able to interpret the variations of fluctuating asymmetry and its association with environmental and genetic stressors.

Perhaps controversially, are there new opinions in the actual application of fluctuating asymmetry as a biomarker in responses to different environmental stressors? What is the future of the use of fluctuating asymmetry in response to environmental stress?

Dr. Dan Bruhn
Prof. Dr. Cino Pertoldi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Complexity
  • Developmental Instability
  • Environment
  • Fluctuating Asymmetry
  • Directional Asymmetry
  • Antisymmetry
  • Genetic and environmental stressors
  • Stress
  • Taxa

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 2140 KiB  
Article
The Fluctuating Asymmetry of the Butterfly Wing Pattern Does Not Change along an Industrial Pollution Gradient
by Vitali Zverev and Mikhail V. Kozlov
Symmetry 2021, 13(4), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13040626 - 9 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2920
Abstract
The rapid and selective responses to changes in habitat structure and climate have made butterflies valuable environmental indicators. In this study, we asked whether the decline in butterfly populations near the copper-nickel smelter in Monchegorsk in northwestern Russia is accompanied by phenotypic stress [...] Read more.
The rapid and selective responses to changes in habitat structure and climate have made butterflies valuable environmental indicators. In this study, we asked whether the decline in butterfly populations near the copper-nickel smelter in Monchegorsk in northwestern Russia is accompanied by phenotypic stress responses to toxic pollutants, expressed as a decrease in body size and an increase in fluctuating asymmetry. We measured the concentrations of nickel and copper, forewing length, and fluctuating asymmetry in two elements of wing patterns in Boloria euphrosyne, Plebejus idas, and Agriades optilete collected 1–65 km from Monchegorsk. Body metal concentrations increased toward the smelter, confirming the local origin of the collected butterflies. The wings of butterflies from the most polluted sites were 5–8% shorter than those in unpolluted localities, suggesting adverse effects of pollution on butterfly fitness due to larval feeding on contaminated plants. However, fluctuating asymmetry averaged across two hindwing spots did not change systematically with pollution, thereby questioning the use of fluctuating asymmetry as an indicator of habitat quality in butterfly conservation projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry and Environmental Stress)
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Review

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14 pages, 553 KiB  
Review
Nature, Nurture, and Noise: Developmental Instability, Fluctuating Asymmetry, and the Causes of Phenotypic Variation
by John H. Graham
Symmetry 2021, 13(7), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13071204 - 5 Jul 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5484
Abstract
Phenotypic variation arises from genetic and environmental variation, as well as random aspects of development. The genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) components of this variation have been appreciated since at least 1900. The random developmental component (noise) has taken longer for quantitative geneticists [...] Read more.
Phenotypic variation arises from genetic and environmental variation, as well as random aspects of development. The genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) components of this variation have been appreciated since at least 1900. The random developmental component (noise) has taken longer for quantitative geneticists to appreciate. Here, I sketch the historical development of the concepts of random developmental noise and developmental instability, and its quantification via fluctuating asymmetry. The unsung pioneers in this story are Hugo DeVries (fluctuating variation, 1909), C. H. Danforth (random variation between monozygotic twins, 1919), and Sewall Wright (random developmental variation in piebald guinea pigs, 1920). The first pioneering study of fluctuating asymmetry, by Sumner and Huestis in 1921, is seldom mentioned, possibly because it failed to connect the observed random asymmetry with random developmental variation. This early work was then synthesized by Boris Astaurov in 1930 and Wilhelm Ludwig in 1932, and then popularized by Drosophila geneticists beginning with Kenneth Mather in 1953. Population phenogeneticists are still trying to understand the origins and behavior of random developmental variation. Some of the developmental noise represents true stochastic behavior of molecules and cells, while some represents deterministic chaos, nonlinear feedback, and symmetry breaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry and Environmental Stress)
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