Adjusting to climate: acclimation, adaptation and developmental plasticity in physiological traits of a tropical rainforest lizard

Llewelyn, John, Macdonald, Stewart L., Moritz, Craig, Martins, Felipe, Hatcher, Amberlee, and Phillips, Ben L. (2018) Adjusting to climate: acclimation, adaptation and developmental plasticity in physiological traits of a tropical rainforest lizard. Integrative Zoology, 13 (4). pp. 411-427.

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Abstract

The impact of climate change may be felt most keenly by tropical ectotherms. In these taxa, it is argued, thermal specialization means a given shift in temperature will have a larger effect on fitness. For species with limited dispersal ability, the impact of climate change depends on the capacity for their climate-relevant traits to shift. Such shifts can occur through genetic adaptation, various forms of plasticity, or a combination of these processes. Here we assess the extent and causes of shifts in 7 physiological traits in a tropical lizard, the rainforest sunskink (Lampropholis coggeri). Two populations were sampled that differ from each other in both climate and physiological traits. We compared trait values in each animal soon after field collection versus following acclimation to laboratory conditions. We also compared trait values between populations in: (i) recently field-collected animals; (ii) the same animals following laboratory acclimation; and (iii) the laboratory-reared offspring of these animals. Our results reveal high trait lability, driven primarily by acclimation and local adaptation. By contrast, developmental plasticity, resulting from incubation temperature, had little to no effect on most traits. These results suggest that, while specialized, tropical ectotherms may be capable of rapid shifts in climate-relevant traits.

Item ID: 55021
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1749-4877
Keywords: acclimation, adaptation, climate change, ectotherm, reptile
Copyright Information: © 2018 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
Additional Information:

Special Issue: Biological buffers alleviate negative impacts of climate change.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), James Cook University (JCU), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP1094646, ARC 130100318l, ARC FL110100104, ARC FT160100198, JCU/CSIRO Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 07:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 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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