Oxygen supply limits the heat tolerance of lizard embryos

Colton Smith, Rory S. Telemeco, Michael Angilletta, John M. VandenBrooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mechanisms that set the thermal limits to life remain uncertain. Classically, researchers thought that heating kills by disrupting the structures of proteins or membranes, but an alternative hypothesis focuses on the demand for oxygen relative to its supply. We evaluated this alternative hypothesis by comparing the lethal temperature for lizard embryos developing at oxygen concentrations of 10-30%. Embryos exposed to normoxia and hyperoxia survived to higher temperatures than those exposed to hypoxia, suggesting that oxygen limitation sets the thermal maximum. As all animals pass through an embryonic stage where respiratory and cardiovascular systemsmust develop, oxygen limitation may limit the thermal niches of terrestrial animals as well as aquatic ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150113
JournalBiology Letters
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Keywords

  • Critical thermal maximum
  • Oxygen-limited thermal tolerance
  • Sceloporus tristichus
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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