Thermal buffering of microhabitats is a critical factor mediating warming vulnerability of frogs in the Philippine biodiversity hotspot

Scheffers, Brett R., Brunner, Rebecca M., Ramirez, Sara D., Shoo, Luke P., Diesmos, Arvin, and Williams, Stephen E. (2013) Thermal buffering of microhabitats is a critical factor mediating warming vulnerability of frogs in the Philippine biodiversity hotspot. Biotropica, 45 (5). pp. 628-635.

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Abstract

Species may circumvent the impacts of climate warming if the habitats they use reduce ambient temperature. In this study, we identified which frog species from a tropical montane rain forest in the Philippines may be vulnerable to climate warming. To do so, we selected five anuran species that utilize four breeding habitats and identified the sensitivity and exposure of tadpoles and direct-developer eggs to heat by measuring their critical thermal maximums (CTmax) and the habitat-specific temperatures they experience. Our study species included two direct-developer frogs—one species that lays its eggs on exposed leaves, and another that lays its eggs in ferns—and three species that produce aquatic free-swimming tadpoles—two stream breeders, and one phytotelm (tree hole) breeder. We compared thermal tolerances derived from microclimates of breeding habitats with tolerances derived from macroclimate (i.e., non-buffered air temperature taken from the rain forest canopy). We also examined whether differences in CTmax existed across life-history stages (egg, metamorph/young-of-year, and adult) for the two direct-developer frog species. Habitats buffered ambient temperature and expanded thermal tolerances of all frog species. We found that direct-developers, however, are more vulnerable to increased temperatures than aquatic breeders—indicated by their high sensitivity to temperature, and exposure to high temperatures. Direct-developer eggs were more sensitive to warming than both metamorph and adult life-history stages. Thermally buffered microhabitats may represent the only protection against current and impending climate warming. Our data highlight the importance of considering sensitivity and exposure in unison when deciphering warming vulnerability of frogs.

Item ID: 31949
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-7429
Keywords: amphibian; climate change; critical thermal maximum; global change; guild; life-history stage; thermal tolerance
Funders: Singapore International Graduate Award, Academic Research Fund, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund, National Environmental Research Program (NERP), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2014 04:40
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960309 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on the South Pacific (excl. Australia and New Zealand) (excl. Social Impacts) @ 50%
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