Predicting ectotherm vulnerability to climate warming: Comparing preferred and actual body temperatures in Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii

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Julia Hammer
Hannah Zurcher
Christine Mauger
Chen Liang
Ming-Dao Chia
Tess Walsh-Rossi
Angela Stoddard
Cameron McArthur
Sarah Stock



The performance of ectotherms can be related to temperature: performance increases with temperature to a certain optimum, above which it quickly drops. Climate warming is a threat to tropical ectotherms, whose thermal optima are relatively low. Temperate and alpine ectotherms, in contrast, have higher thermal optima, and therefore may benefit from rising temperatures. The preferred body temperatures (Tp) and field body temperatures (Tb) of viviparous Australian alpine skink, Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii (Duméril and Bibron), were compared. Results showed that Tp was lower than Tb in early summer, implying that short-term warming could enhance performance. These thermal performance parameters are one of many factors that require consideration when predicting the vulnerability of ectotherms to climate warming.

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