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Environmental heterogeneity shapes physiological traits in tropical direct-developing frogs


Percino-Daniel, Ruth et al. (2022), Environmental heterogeneity shapes physiological traits in tropical direct-developing frogs , Dryad, Dataset,


1. Tropical ectotherm species tend to have narrower physiological limits than species from temperate areas. As a consequence, tropical species are considered highly vulnerable to climate change since minor temperature increases can push them beyond their physiological thermal tolerance. Differences in physiological tolerances can also be seen at finer evolutionary scales, such as among populations of ectotherm species along elevation gradients, highlighting the physiological sensitivity of such organisms.

2. Here we analyze the influence of elevation and bioclimatic domains, defined by temperature and precipitation, on thermal sensitivities of a terrestrial direct-developing frog (Craugastor loki) in a tropical gradient. We address the following questions: i) Does preferred temperature vary with elevation and among bioclimatic domains? ii) Do thermal tolerance limits, i.e. critical thermal maximum and critical thermal minimum vary with elevation and bioclimatic domains?, and iii) Are populations from high elevations more vulnerable to climate warming? 

3. We found that along an elevation gradient body temperature decreases as environmental temperature increases. The preferred temperature tends to moderately increase with elevation within the sampled bioclimatic domains. Our results indicate that the ideal thermal landscape for this species is located at mid-elevations, where the thermal accuracy (db) and thermal quality of the environment (de) are suitable. The critical thermal maximum is variable across elevations and among the bioclimatic domains, decreasing as elevation increases. Conversely, the critical thermal minimum is not as variable as the critical thermal maximum. 

4. Populations from the lowlands may be more vulnerable to future increases in temperature. We highlight that the critical thermal maximum is related to high temperatures exhibited across the elevation gradient and within in each bioclimatic domain, therefore, it is a response to high environmental temperatures.



Usage Notes

Databases contain the following information: 

The file named Crau_dfnight1 contains the Body temperature, Air and substrate temperature data.

The file named Crau_tsel contains the Preferred temperature (Tsel) data.

The file named Thermal_limits_WT_CT contains the following info:

  • Critical thermal maximum (CTmax)
  • Critical thermal minimum (CTmin)
  • Thermal tolerance or Thermal breath (TTR)
  • Warming tolerance (WT)
  • Cooling tolerance
  • Maximum daily temperature (Tmax_hab)
  • Minimum daily temperature (Tmin-hab)



Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica, Award: 434471

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Award: 2017 - 2019