A simple method to predict body temperature of small reptiles from environmental temperature

Vickers, Mathew, and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2016) A simple method to predict body temperature of small reptiles from environmental temperature. Ecology and Evolution, 6 (10). pp. 3059-3066.

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To study behavioral thermoregulation, it is useful to use thermal sensors and physical models to collect environmental temperatures that are used to predict organism body temperature. Many techniques involve expensive or numerous types of sensors (cast copper models, or temperature, humidity, radiation, and wind speed sensors) to collect the microhabitat data necessary to predict body temperatures. Expense and diversity of requisite sensors can limit sampling resolution and accessibility of these methods. We compare body temperature predictions of small lizards from iButtons, DS18B20 sensors, and simple copper models, in both laboratory and natural conditions. Our aim was to develop an inexpensive yet accurate method for body temperature prediction. Either method was applicable given appropriate parameterization of the heat transfer equation used. The simplest and cheapest method was DS18B20 sensors attached to a small recording computer. There was little if any deficit in precision or accuracy compared to other published methods. We show how the heat transfer equation can be parameterized, and it can also be used to predict body temperature from historically collected data, allowing strong comparisons between current and previous environmental temperatures using the most modern techniques. Our simple method uses very cheap sensors and loggers to extensively sample habitat temperature, improving our understanding of microhabitat structure and thermal variability with respect to small ectotherms. While our method was quite precise, we feel any potential loss in accuracy is offset by the increase in sample resolution, important as it is increasingly apparent that, particularly for small ectotherms, habitat thermal heterogeneity is the strongest influence on transient body temperature.

Item ID: 45459
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: copper model, iButton, lizard, operative temperature, thermoregulation
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© 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: ANR (L'agence Nationale de la Recherche)
Projects and Grants: ANR INDHET ANR- 12-BSV7-002
Research Data: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.5061/dryad.23dn4
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 07:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310908 Animal physiology - biophysics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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