Elevational and local climate variability predicts thermal breadth of mountain tropical tadpoles

Pol Pintanel, Miguel Tejedo, Andrés Merino-Viteri, Freddy Almeida-Reinoso, Sofia Salinas-Ivanenko, Andrea C. López-Rosero, Gustavo A. Llorente, Luis M. Gutiérrez-Pesquera

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12 Citas (Scopus)


The climate variability hypothesis posits that increased environmental thermal variation should select for thermal generalists, while stable environments should favor thermal specialists. This hypothesis has been tested on large spatial scales, such as latitude and elevation, but less so on smaller scales reflective of the experienced microclimate. Here, we estimated thermal tolerance limits of 75 species of amphibian tadpoles from an aseasonal tropical mountain range of the Ecuadorian Andes, distributed along a 3500 m elevational range, to test the climatic variability hypothesis at a large (elevation) and a small (microhabitat) scale. We show how species from less variable thermal habitats, such as lowlands and those restricted to streams, exhibit narrower thermal tolerance breadths than highland and pond-dwelling species respectively. Interestingly, while broader thermal tolerance breadths at large scales are driven by higher cold tolerance variation (heat-invariant hypothesis), at local scales they are driven by higher heat tolerance variation. This contrasting pattern may result from divergent selection on both thermal limits to face environmental thermal extremes at different scales. Specifically, within the same elevational window, exposure to extreme maximum temperatures could be avoided through habitat shifts from temporary ponds to permanent ponds or streams, while minimum peak temperatures remained invariable between habitats but steadily decreased with elevation. Therefore an understanding of the effects of habitat conversion is crucial for future research on resilience to climate change.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe05906
EstadoPublicada - 5 abr. 2022

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© 2022 The Authors. Ecography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos.


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