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Title: Comparison of Hydric and Thermal Physiology in an Environmentally Diverse Clade of Caribbean Anoles

As the world becomes warmer and precipitation patterns less predictable, organisms will experience greater heat and water stress. It is crucial to understand the factors that predict variation in thermal and hydric physiology among species. This study focuses on investigating the relationships between thermal and hydric diversity and their environmental predictors in a clade of Hispaniolan anole lizards, which are part of a broader Caribbean adaptive radiation. This clade, the “cybotoid” anoles, occupies a wide range of thermal habitats (from sea level to several kilometers above it) and hydric habitats (such as xeric scrub, broadleaf forest, and pine forest), setting up the possibility for ecophysiological specialization among species. Among the thermal traits, only cold tolerance is correlated with environmental temperature, and none of our climate variables are correlated with hydric physiology. Nevertheless, we found a negative relationship between heat tolerance (critical thermal maximum) and evaporative water loss at higher temperatures, such that more heat-tolerant lizards are also more desiccation-tolerant at higher temperatures. This finding hints at shared thermal and hydric specialization at higher temperatures, underscoring the importance of considering the interactive effects of temperature and water balance in ecophysiological studies. While ecophysiological differentiation is a core feature of the anole adaptive radiation, our results suggest that close relatives in this lineage do not diverge in hydric physiology and only diverge partially in thermal physiology.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Integrative And Comparative Biology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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