Integrating phylogeography and physiology reveals divergence of thermal traits between central and peripheral lineages of tropical rainforest lizards

Moritz, Craig, Langham, Gary, Kearney, Michael, Krockenberger, Andrew, VanDerWal, Jeremy, and Williams, Stephen (2012) Integrating phylogeography and physiology reveals divergence of thermal traits between central and peripheral lineages of tropical rainforest lizards. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367 (1596). pp. 1680-1687.

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Abstract

Tropical ectotherms are regarded as being especially threatened by global warming, but the extent to which populations vary in key thermal physiological traits is little known. In general, central and peripheral populations are most likely to differ where divergent selection pressures are un-opposed by gene flow. This leads to the prediction that persistent and long-isolated lineages in peripheral regions, as revealed by phylogeography, may differ physiologically from larger centrally located lineages. We test this prediction through comparative assays of critical thermal limits (minimum and maximum critical thermal limits, CTmin, CTmax) and optimal performance parameters (B80 and Topt) across central and peripheral lineages of three species of ground-dwelling skinks endemic to the rainforests of northeast Australia. Peripheral lineages show significantly increased optimal performance temperatures (Topt) relative to central populations as well as elevated CTmin, with the latter trait also inversely related to elevation. CTmax did not vary between central and peripheral lineages, but was higher in a forest edge species than in the forest interior species. The results suggest that long-isolated populations in peripheral rainforests harbour genotypes that confer resilience to future warming, emphasizing the need to protect these as well as larger central habitats.

Item ID: 22594
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2970
Keywords: ecophysiology, niche evolution, ectotherms, climate change
Additional Information:

This is one article from the Theme Issue 'Conservation physiology: integrating physiological mechanisms with ecology and evolution to predict responses of organisms to environmental change' organized and edited by Craig E. Franklin and Frank Seebacher.

Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 09:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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