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1.  A heterogeneous thermal environment enables remarkable behavioral thermoregulation in Uta stansburiana 
Ecology and Evolution  2014;4(17):3319-3329.
Ectotherms can attain preferred body temperatures by selecting specific temperature microhabitats within a varied thermal environment. The side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana may employ microhabitat selection to thermoregulate behaviorally. It is unknown to what degree habitat structural complexity provides thermal microhabitats for thermoregulation. Thermal microhabitat structure, lizard temperature, and substrate preference were simultaneously evaluated using thermal imaging. A broad range of microhabitat temperatures was available (mean range of 11°C within 1–2 m2) while mean lizard temperature was between 36°C and 38°C. Lizards selected sites that differed significantly from the mean environmental temperature, indicating behavioral thermoregulation, and maintained a temperature significantly above that of their perch (mean difference of 2.6°C). Uta's thermoregulatory potential within a complex thermal microhabitat structure suggests that a warming trend may prove advantageous, rather than detrimental for this population.
doi:10.1002/ece3.1141
PMCID: PMC4228607  PMID: 25535549
Side-blotched lizard; thermal microhabitat; thermal preference; Uta stansburiana
2.  Potential for local adaptation in response to an anthropogenic agent of selection: effects of road deicing salts on amphibian embryonic survival and development 
Evolutionary Applications  2012;6(2):384-392.
The application of millions of tons of road deicing salts every winter in North America presents significant survival challenges to amphibians inhabiting roadside habitats. While much is known of the effects of NaCl on anuran tadpoles, less is known of effects on amphibian eggs, or any caudate life stage. In addition, little is known of the effects of MgCl2, which is now the 2nd most commonly used road deicer. Most studies have considered amphibians to be helpless victims of deicing salts, and ignore the possibility of the evolution of local adaptation to this stressor. We attempt to address these knowledge gaps and explore this evolutionary potential by examining the effects of NaCl and MgCl2 on the survival and development of eggs from different female rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) from the same population. We demonstrate that both salts, at environmentally relevant concentrations, severely affect the embryonic survival and development of this amphibian, but that the effects of the salt are dependent on the identity of the mother. This female × treatment interaction results in substantial variation in tolerance to road deicing salts among newt families, providing the raw material necessary for natural selection and the evolution of local adaptation in this amphibian.
doi:10.1111/eva.12016
PMCID: PMC3586626  PMID: 23467723
amphibian; egg; local adaptation; magnesium chloride; natural selection; road deicing salt; Taricha granulosa; variation
3.  Interfamily variation in amphibian early life-history traits: raw material for natural selection? 
Ecology and Evolution  2012;2(7):1637-1643.
The embryonic development and time to hatching of eggs can be highly adaptive in some species, and thus under selective pressure. In this study, we examined the underlying interfamily variation in hatching timing and embryonic development in a population of an oviparous amphibian, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). We found significant, high variability in degree of embryonic development and hatching timing among eggs from different females. Patterns of variation were present regardless of temperature. We also could not explain the differences among families by morphological traits of the females or their eggs. This study suggests that the variation necessary for natural selection to act upon is present in the early life history of this amphibian.
doi:10.1002/ece3.287
PMCID: PMC3434928  PMID: 22957168
Amphibian; egg; embryonic development; hatching; Salamandridae; Taricha granulosa; variation
4.  An improved competitive inhibition enzymatic immunoassay method for tetrodotoxin quantification 
Quantifying tetrodotoxin (TTX) has been a challenge in both ecological and medical research due to the cost, time and training required of most quantification techniques. Here we present a modified Competitive Inhibition Enzymatic Immunoassay for the quantification of TTX, and to aid researchers in the optimization of this technique for widespread use with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.
doi:10.1186/1480-9222-14-3
PMCID: PMC3337821  PMID: 22410273
Tetrodotoxin; CIEIA; HPLC
5.  Human disturbance alters endocrine and immune responses in the Galapagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) 
Hormones and behavior  2010;58(5):792-799.
Anthropogenic disturbance is a relevant and widespread facilitator of environmental change and there is clear evidence that it impacts natural populations. While population-level responses to major anthropogenic changes have been well studied, individual physiological responses to mild disturbance can be equally critical to the long-term survival of a species, yet they remain largely unexamined. The current study investigated the impact of seemingly low-level anthropogenic disturbance (ecotourism) on stress responsiveness and specific fitness-related immune measures in different breeding stages of the marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). Specifically, we found stress-induced elevations in plasma corticosterone among tourist-exposed populations relative to undisturbed populations. We also found changes in multiple immunological responses associated with stress-related effects of human disturbance, including bacterial killing ability, cutaneous wound healing, and hemolytic complement activity, and the responses varied according to reproductive state. By identifying health-related consequences of human disturbance, this study provides critical insight into the conservation of a well-known species that has a very distinct ecology. The study also broadens the foundation of knowledge needed to understand the global significance of various levels of human disturbance.
doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.08.001
PMCID: PMC2982938  PMID: 20708010
Corticosterone; reproduction; immunity; tourism

Results 1-5 (5)