Heat tolerance during embryonic development has not diverged among populations of a widespread species (Sceloporus undulatus)

Michael Angilletta, Maximilian H. Zelic, Gregory J. Adrian, Alex M. Hurliman, Colton D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

The frequency and magnitude of heat waves have increased in recent decades, imposing additional stresses on organisms in extreme environments. Most reptilian embryos are regularly exposed to thermal stress because they develop in shallow, warm soils for weeks to months. We studied cardiac performance during warming to infer lethal temperatures for embryonic lizards in the Sceloporus undulatus complex. Embryos from four populations throughout the geographical range (New Jersey, South Carolina, Colorado, and Arizona) were warmed at a rate observed in natural nests. Embryos from all populations exhibited a similar pattern of thermal sensitivity, as follows: heart rate rose between 34 and 41°C, remained stable between 41 and 44°C, and dropped sharply between 44 and 47°C. No embryos recovered from cardiac arrest, indicating that the upper lethal temperature was ≤ 47°C. Despite the putative selective pressures, the thermal limit to cardiac performance seems to have been conserved during the evolution of this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConservation Physiology
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Critical thermal maximum
  • Embryo
  • Heart rate
  • Survival
  • Temperature
  • Thermal tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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