Water deprivation drives intraspecific variability in lizard heat tolerance
Quantifying intraspecific variation in heat tolerance is critical to understand how species respond to climate change. In a previous study, we recorded variability in critical thermal maxima (CTmax) by 3 degrees C among populations of small Iberian lizard species, which could substantially influence predictions of climate-driven activity restriction. Here, we undertake experiments to examine whether we could reproduce similar levels of heat-tolerance variability in response to water deficit. We hypothesized that deprivation of drinking water should increase variability in CTmax between populations more than deprivation of food under the theoretical expectation that the variation of the more limiting resource must trigger stronger variation in physiological performance. We measured CTmax after manipulating availability of live prey and drinking water in two populations of an arid and a mesic lizard species from the Iberian Peninsula. We quantified a mean CTmax across all studied lizards of 44.2 degrees C +/- 0.2 SE for the arid species and 41.7 degrees C +/- 0.3 SE for the mesic species. Using multimodel inference, we found that water deprivation (combined with food supply) caused population differences in CTmax by 3 to 4 degrees C which were two to three times wider than population differences due to food deprivation (combined with water supply) or to food and water provision. To highlight the need for more thermo-hydroregulatory research, we examined bias in research effort towards thermal versus hydric environmental effects on heat tolerance through a systematic literature review. We show that environmental temperature has been used five times more frequently than precipitation in ecological studies of heat tolerance of terrestrial species. Studies linking thermal tolerance of ectotherms to the interplay of air temperature and water availability are needed in the face of projected increases in aridity and drought in the 21st century, because the balance of body temperature and water resources are functionally interlinked.
Acanthodactylus, Climate change, CTmax, Drought, Ecophysiology, Macroecology, Phenotypic variance, Podarcis, Precipitation, Specialization, Thermo-hydroregulation
Herrando-Perez, S., Belliure, J., Ferri-Yanez, F., van den Burg, M.P., Beukema, W., Araujo, M.B., Terblanche, J.S. and Vieites, D.R. (2020). Water deprivation drives intraspecific variability in lizard heat tolerance. Basic and Applied Ecology 48, 37-51.