Phenotypic integration in response to incubation environment adaptively influences habitat choice in a tropical lizard

Goodman, Brett A., Schwarzkopf, Lin, and Krockenberger, Andrew K. (2013) Phenotypic integration in response to incubation environment adaptively influences habitat choice in a tropical lizard. American Naturalist, 182 (5). pp. 666-673.

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Abstract

Phenotypic integration, in which a suite of traits change in a correlated or covarying response to shifts in environmental conditions, may enhance an organism's fitness. In skinks, rocky environments select for longer limbs and rapid running and climbing. We examined whether differences in nest temperature coincident with specific habitats caused phenotypically integrated effects on morphology, locomotor performance, and behavior in the skink Carlia longipes. Specifically, we determined whether microhabitat choices were integrated with adaptive morphology for each habitat. Using a split-clutch design, we incubated eggs at thermal regimes that mimicked the thermal environments of nests from two habitat types (forest = warm; rocky = cool). Hatchlings from cool incubation environments had longer limbs and greater running and climbing speeds, which are likely to be beneficial for rocky habitats. In addition, individuals from cool incubation environments selected rocky microhabitats more frequently than did hatchlings from warm incubation environments. We demonstrate phenotypic integration in response to nest temperature that affected morphology, performance, and ultimately habitat selection in a way that should increase hatchling fitness.

Item ID: 30213
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: phenotypic plasticity, adaptive, morphology, habitat, lizard
ISSN: 1537-5323
Funders: Linnaean Society of New South Wales, Peter Rankin Trust Fund for Herpetology, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2013 05:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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