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Data from: Thermal tolerance and the importance of microhabitats for Andean frogs in the context of land-use and climate change

Cite this dataset

González-del-Pliego, Pamela et al. (2020). Data from: Thermal tolerance and the importance of microhabitats for Andean frogs in the context of land-use and climate change [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Global warming is having impacts across the Tree of Life. Understanding species’ physiological sensitivity to temperature change and how they relate to local temperature variation in their habitats is crucial to determining vulnerability to global warming.

2. We ask how species’ vulnerability varies across habitats and elevations, and how climatically-buffered microhabitats can contribute to reduce their vulnerability.

3. We measured thermal sensitivity (critical thermal maximum – CTmax) of 14 species of Pristimantis frogs inhabiting young and old secondary, and primary forests in the Colombian Andes. Exposure to temperature stress was measured by recording temperature in the understory and across five microhabitats. We determined the frogs’ current vulnerability across habitats, elevations and microhabitats accounting for phylogeny and then ask how vulnerability varies under four warming scenarios: +1.5⁰C, +2⁰C, +3⁰C and +5⁰C.

4. We found that CTmax was constant across species regardless of habitat and elevation. However, species in young secondary forests are expected to become more vulnerable because of increased exposure to higher temperatures. Microhabitat variation could enable species to persist within their thermal temperature range as long as regional temperatures do not surpass +2°C. The effectiveness of microhabitat buffering decreases with a 2-3°C increase, and is almost null under a 5°C temperature increase.

5. Microhabitats will provide thermal protection to Andean frog communities from climate change by enabling tracking of suitable climates through short distance movement. Conservation strategies, such as managing landscapes by preserving primary forests and allowing regrowth and re-connection of secondary forest would offer thermally buffered microhabitats and aid in the survival of this group.


These data was collected on the western cordillera of the Colombian Andes, in the Reserva Mesenia-Paramillo cloud forest, Antioquia (-75.8895 lon, 5.4950 lat) between July and August 2014.

Critical thermal maximum methodology is fully described in original paper. Experimental protocols received ANLA (National Agency for Environmental Licences) approval (#1579).

Usage notes

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Consejo Nacional de Humanidades, Ciencias y Tecnologías, Award: Scholarship 359063

The Research Council of Norway, Award: 208836