Sexual Dimorphism of Thermal Preference in Florida Scrub Lizards (Sceloporus woodi) and Predicting Response to Climate Change in Two Rare Habitats
Term of Award
Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Biology
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
The Florida Scrub Lizard (Sceloporus woodi) is endemic to Florida, where it inhabits fragments of xeric sandhill uplands including endangered long-leaf pine and sand pine scrub habitats. Lizards depend on a predictable range of temperatures to maximize their growth and productivity, and to do so, they shuttle among various thermal micro-environments. Thus, the spatial distribution of temperatures in the habitat is important. Habitats dominated by either high or low extremes of an organism’s preference are energetically costly and dangerous (less optimal), especially to gravid females. This study examines thermal preference of a near-threatened species that also inhabits increasingly rare habitats. I incorporate data on both sexes into a biophysical model that uses environmental and organismal data to estimate daily activity times under current and 3℃ warming climate conditions. Male S. woodi preferred a temperature 2℃ higher than that of females, whereas females had a wider thermal tolerance than males, which could facilitate adjustments to environmental change. Under a 3℃ warming scenario, females are predicted to have activity times shifted later in the day while males are predicted to experience longer activity times. These results have implications for conservationists, habitat managers, and broader considerations on the mixed effects of climate change. With variable responses to climate change, males and females are predicted to alter activity time differently in order to survive. Management decisions on the timing and types of habitat disturbance are likely to have differential effects on sexes, thus managers are encouraged to apply techniques that benefit both sexes.
Anderson, Sidney E., "Sexual Dimorphism of Thermal Preference in Florida Scrub Lizards (Sceloporus woodi) and Predicting Response to Climate Change in Two Rare Habitats" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2332.
Research Data and Supplementary Material