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Reptiles and other ectotherms depend on favorable environmental conditions, since they rely on habitat characteristics to regulate their body temperature (Huey 1989). Temperature influences all aspects of their daily lives (Huey 1982). In particular, temperature has pronounced effect on their locomotion, physiology and reproduction (Price-Rees et al 2013).

Climate change significantly affected many terrestrial species in the past (Deutsch et al 2008). Even though scientists within the field are familiar with this fact, not so many researches about influence of climate change on different species have been done so far (Huey et al 2009). 

Tropical species have limited acclimation responses, since seasonal variation in these areas is not as strong as in northern hemisphere. That means that acclimation is mostly favored in strongly seasonal environments, where the benefits of physiological compensation would outweigh the costs of acclimation (Ghalambor et al 2016). In the group of animals that are likely to be affected by temperature changes are Australian blue tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, also known as common blue tongue, northern bluetongue) (Price-Rees et al 2013, Price-Rees et al 2012, Koening et al 2012, Leu & Bull 2016) .

Area s that this species occupies is characterized by shifts of wet and dry season throughout the year. Both seasons have different environmental factors, which influence differences in lizard’s movements. Comprehension of animal movement is fundamental to understand population structure and dynamics (Price-Rees et al 2013).

Comprehension of animal movement is fundamental to understand population structure and dynamics (Spiegel et al 2015, Pizzato et al 2009).

In this study, detailed continuous data set on movements by blue tongue skinks from tropical Australia (obtained with GPS radiotelemetry) was used to assess the information about their movement pattern. Absence of a proper Bayesian model which would interpret our data set, expressed necessity of a new model development. The purpose of this statistical model was to answer some of the important questions related to lizards’ movement pattern and its dependency on temperature. Specifically, it targeted effects of different temperature regimes on movements of northern blue tongues, revealing lizards’ movement patterns during wet and dry season. We addressed the following questions: During which temperatures does the northern blue tongues have their peak activity? Do these temperatures differ between wet and dry season? Additionally, the model provided a basis for discussion about the effect of climate change on populations of northern blue tongue skinks

 


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/19/17