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

John Llewelyn*, Stewart L. Macdonald, Craig Moritz, Felipe Martins, Amberlee Hatcher, Ben L. Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)411-427
    Number of pages17
    JournalIntegrative Zoology
    Volume13
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Adjusting to climate: Acclimation, adaptation and developmental plasticity in physiological traits of a tropical rainforest lizard'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this