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Data from: Hurricane effects on Neotropical lizards span geographic and phylogenetic scales

Cite this dataset

Donihue, Colin et al. (2021). Data from: Hurricane effects on Neotropical lizards span geographic and phylogenetic scales [Dataset]. Dryad.


Extreme climate events such as droughts, cold snaps, and hurricanes can be powerful agents of natural selection, producing acute selective pressures very different from the everyday pressures acting on organisms. However, it remains unknown whether these infrequent but severe disruptions are quickly erased by quotidian selective forces, or whether they have the potential to durably shape biodiversity patterns across regions and clades. Here, we show that hurricanes have enduring evolutionary impacts on the morphology of anoles, a diverse Neotropical lizard clade. We first demonstrate a transgenerational effect of extreme selection on toepad area for two populations struck by hurricanes in 2017. Given this short-term effect of hurricanes, we then asked whether populations and species that more frequently experienced hurricanes have larger toepads. Using 70 y of historical hurricane data, we demonstrate that, indeed, toepad area positively correlates with hurricane activity for both 12 island populations of Anolis sagrei and 188 Anolis species throughout the Neotropics. Extreme climate events are intensifying due to climate change and may represent overlooked drivers of biogeographic and large-scale biodiversity patterns.


These morphology data are largely measured from toepad scans of anolis species toepads. They have been synced with hurricane occurence data from NOAA. See main text for full data description. 

Usage notes

Data is complete, to the best of our knowledge.

We recommend accessing Donihue_etal_PNAS_HurricaneEffectsNeotropicalLizards_CodeArchive.R in the Rproj. All code is available there and all data can be accessed through that code. 

For re-use of data or questions about data descriptions please contact