Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lizard activity levels can help scientists predict environmental change

01.04.2015

Research study provides new tools to assess warming temperatures

Spring is here and ectotherms, or animals dependent on external sources to raise their body temperature, are becoming more active. Recent studies have shown that as the average global temperature increases, some lizards may spend more time in the shade and less time eating and reproducing, which could endanger many species. Now, a detailed field study of the Puerto Rican crested anole by a University of Missouri researcher shows that lizards are active over a broader range of temperatures than scientists previously thought--but when temperatures are either too hot or too cold, critical activity levels slow, limiting the abilities of species to cope with climate variability.


A new Mizzou study reveals the crested anole is active over a broader range of temperatures than scientists had previously observed.

Credit: Manuel Leal

Like other cold-blooded animals, lizards have preferred body temperatures at which they hunt, eat, move quickly and reproduce. The active range for Puerto Rican crested anole is between 81 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit (27-29 degrees Celsius). Scientists previously projected that the lizards would no longer be active at hotter or cooler temperatures. The MU study shows a different perspective.

"We found that lizards were most active between the temperatures previously reported; however, above and below that range, lizards were still active," said Manuel Leal, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU. "Although climate change is still a major problem for lizards, our research indicates that their activity levels are less constrained by temperature than previously thought."

In the study, Leal and Alex Gunderson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Berkeley, conducted behavioral observations and collected temperature data on hundreds of crested anoles in their native tropical habitat in Puerto Rico. They recorded the lizards' movements and behaviors over 15-minute intervals and measured the lizards' body temperatures.

"The findings suggest that scientists need to rethink how to model the activity of ectotherms and how temperature rise due to climate change may affect behavior," Leal said. "Instead of treating activity as an on- or off-switch, we need to start thinking about activity as more of a dimmer switch, where behaviors are being dialed up and dialed down."

The new modeling techniques presented in the study should provide scientists with the tools they need to create more targeted ways of determining the effects of climate variability on lizards' activities, such as eating and reproducing, Leal said.

###

The study, "Patterns of Thermal Constraint on Ectotherm Activity," appears in the March 11 online issue of the journal American Naturalist.

Editor's Note: For more on the story, please see: http://biology.missouri.edu/news/warming-temperatures-slow-but-dont-stop-lizards/

Media Contact

Jeff Sossamon
sossamonj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346

 @mizzounews

http://www.missouri.edu 

Jeff Sossamon | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bacteria as pacemaker for the intestine
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Researchers identify how bacterium survives in oxygen-poor environments
22.11.2017 | Columbia University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>