Low acclimation capacity of narrow-ranging thermal specialists exposes susceptibility to global climate change

Tricia M. Markle, Kenneth H Kozak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Thermal acclimation is hypothesized to offer a selective advantage in seasonal habitats and may underlie disparities in geographic range size among closely-related species with similar ecologies. Understanding this relationship is also critical for identifying species that are more sensitive to warming climates. Here, we study North American plethodontid salamanders to investigate whether acclimation ability is associated with species’ latitudinal extents and the thermal range of the environments they inhabit. We quantified variation in thermal physiology by measuring standard metabolic rate (SMR) at different test and acclimation temperatures for 16 species of salamanders with varying latitudinal extents. A phylogenetically-controlled Markov chain Monte Carlo generalized linear mixed model (MCMCglmm) was then employed to determine whether there are differences in SMR between wide- and narrow-ranging species at different acclimation temperatures. In addition, we tested for a relationship between the acclimation ability of species and the environmental temperature ranges they inhabit. Further, we investigated if there is a trade-off between critical thermal maximum (CTMax) and thermal acclimation ability. MCMCglmm results show a significant difference in acclimation ability between wide and narrow-ranging temperate salamanders. Salamanders with wide latitudinal distributions maintain or slightly increase SMR when subjected to higher test and acclimation temperatures, whereas several narrow-ranging species show significant metabolic depression. We also found significant, positive relationships between acclimation ability and environmental thermal range, and between acclimation ability and CTMax. Wide-ranging salamander species exhibit a greater capacity for thermal acclimation than narrow-ranging species, suggesting that selection for acclimation ability may have been a key factor enabling geographic expansion into areas with greater thermal variability. Further, given that narrow-ranging salamanders are found to have both poor acclimation ability and lower tolerance to warm temperatures, they are likely to be more susceptible to environmental warming associated with anthropogenic climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4644-4656
Number of pages13
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

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acclimation
global climate
climate change
heat
salamanders and newts
Hypsithermal
Markov chain
heat tolerance
temperature
warming
range size
trade-off
global warming
physiology
salamander
ambient temperature
tolerance
testing
ecology

Keywords

  • acclimation
  • critical thermal maximum
  • geographic range
  • physiological tolerance
  • salamanders
  • standard metabolic rate

Cite this

Low acclimation capacity of narrow-ranging thermal specialists exposes susceptibility to global climate change. / Markle, Tricia M.; Kozak, Kenneth H.

In: Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 8, No. 9, 05.2018, p. 4644-4656.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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