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Data from: Ambient temperature influences tolerance to plant secondary compounds in a mammalian herbivore

Citation

Kurnath, Patrice; Merz, Natalie D.; Dearing, M. Denise (2016), Data from: Ambient temperature influences tolerance to plant secondary compounds in a mammalian herbivore, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6q16d

Abstract

Growing evidence suggests that plant secondary compounds (PSCs) ingested by mammals become more toxic at elevated ambient temperatures, a phenomenon known as temperature-dependent toxicity. We investigated temperature-dependent toxicity in the desert woodrat (Neotoma lepida), a herbivorous rodent that naturally encounters PSCs in creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), which is a major component of its diet. First, we determined the maximum dose of creosote resin ingested by woodrats at warm (28–29°C) or cool (21–22°C) temperatures. Second, we controlled the daily dose of creosote resin ingested at warm, cool and room (25°C) temperatures, and measured persistence in feeding trials. At the warm temperature, woodrats ingested significantly less creosote resin; their maximum dose was two-thirds that of animals at the cool temperature. Moreover, woodrats at warm and room temperatures could not persist on the same dose of creosote resin as woodrats at the cool temperature. Our findings demonstrate that warmer temperatures reduce PSC intake and tolerance in herbivorous rodents, highlighting the potentially adverse consequences of temperature-dependent toxicity. These results will advance the field of herbivore ecology and may hone predictions of mammalian responses to climate change.

Usage Notes

Location

Mojave Desert
Utah