Presentation Title

The Effects of Thermal Opportunity and Habitat on Thermoregulatory Effectiveness

Location

Room 2903

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Natural & Physical Sciences - Biology

Abstract

Ectotherms are considered to be highly sensitive to the effects of global climate change. An organism’s ability to thermoregulate can affect many aspects of physiological performance in ectotherms. Therefore, thermal variation is often paramount when considering the quality of an ectotherm’s habitat. The influence of thermal quality on thermoregulatory behavior, body temperatures, and physiological performance was quantified in populations of the Florida scrub lizard, Sceloporus woodi. Thermal quality was measured via an index of how closely the available operative temperatures in a habitat align with an animal’s preferred range of temperatures determined in an experimental thermal gradient. Available operative temperatures were measured in the field using PVC thermal models. Models were placed throughout ecologically relevant sites in two contrasting habitats. Long leaf pine habitats are managed via prescribed burns, whereas scrub habitats are managed by clear-cut logging. Thermoregulatory effectiveness refers to the improvement in accuracy of thermoregulation with respect to non-thermoregulating models. Understanding how thermoregulatory effort varies by habitat type may provide insight into how different habitat management strategies influences thermoregulatory behavior. We found that available operative temperatures were higher in longleaf habitats than in scrub habitats. However, field active body temperatures were the same among all sites, indicating differences in thermoregulatory behaviors. Thermoregulatory effectiveness was greater in longleaf pine habitats, suggesting that animals were more carefully regulating their body temperature when available operative temperatures were higher. Since ectotherms are especially sensitive to thermal variation in their environments, better understanding the lability of thermal parameters will prove to be important when predicting how ectotherms will fare in the face of global climate change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 9:30 AM

End Date

4-16-2016 10:30 AM

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Apr 16th, 9:30 AM Apr 16th, 10:30 AM

The Effects of Thermal Opportunity and Habitat on Thermoregulatory Effectiveness

Room 2903

Ectotherms are considered to be highly sensitive to the effects of global climate change. An organism’s ability to thermoregulate can affect many aspects of physiological performance in ectotherms. Therefore, thermal variation is often paramount when considering the quality of an ectotherm’s habitat. The influence of thermal quality on thermoregulatory behavior, body temperatures, and physiological performance was quantified in populations of the Florida scrub lizard, Sceloporus woodi. Thermal quality was measured via an index of how closely the available operative temperatures in a habitat align with an animal’s preferred range of temperatures determined in an experimental thermal gradient. Available operative temperatures were measured in the field using PVC thermal models. Models were placed throughout ecologically relevant sites in two contrasting habitats. Long leaf pine habitats are managed via prescribed burns, whereas scrub habitats are managed by clear-cut logging. Thermoregulatory effectiveness refers to the improvement in accuracy of thermoregulation with respect to non-thermoregulating models. Understanding how thermoregulatory effort varies by habitat type may provide insight into how different habitat management strategies influences thermoregulatory behavior. We found that available operative temperatures were higher in longleaf habitats than in scrub habitats. However, field active body temperatures were the same among all sites, indicating differences in thermoregulatory behaviors. Thermoregulatory effectiveness was greater in longleaf pine habitats, suggesting that animals were more carefully regulating their body temperature when available operative temperatures were higher. Since ectotherms are especially sensitive to thermal variation in their environments, better understanding the lability of thermal parameters will prove to be important when predicting how ectotherms will fare in the face of global climate change.