Although exposure to environmental stress is common in most populations, and the physiological effects of stress on individuals are well studied, the evolutionary importance of stress to populations is not well understood. To address multitrait responses to environmental change and potential constraints on character evolution, we analysed, in 100 isofemale lines of Drosophila buzzatii, the genetic relationships between resistance to a short heat shock and several life-history traits: survival in benign conditions, larval developmental time, fecundity and longevity. Estimates of heritability of larval thermotolerance were low, but significant, and all life-history traits varied significantly among isofemale lines. Several of these traits covaried significantly. Most correlations indicated positive life-history relationships, but males and females from lines where female fecundity was higher developed more slowly in the absence of stress, which is a negative life-history relationship. The stress reduced or negated many trait associations, and showed one additional relationship; more larvae from lines that developed fast at 25°C survived to adult after stress than did larvae from slow developing lines. These shifts in fitness relationships, when a single stress bout is applied, suggest that even small increases in environmental stress can have profound effects on evolutionary relationships among life-history traits.
Krebs RA and Loeschcke V. 1999. A genetic analysis of the relationship between life-history variation and heat-shock tolerance in drosophila buzzatii. Heredity 83(1):46-53.