Evol Ecol Res 15: 579-587 (2013)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Acclimation to daily thermal variability drives the metabolic performance curve

Francisco Bozinovic1, Tamara P. Catalan1, Sergio A. Estay2 and Pablo Sabat3

1Departamento de Ecología, LINC-Global, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile,  2Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile and 3Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Correspondence: F. Bozinovic, Departamento de Ecología, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 6513677, Chile.
e-mail: fbozinovic@bio.puc.cl


Background: Among the predictions of the effect of future climate change, the impact of thermal conditions at local levels on the physiological performance of individuals and their acclimation capacities is key to understanding animals’ responses to global warming.

Goal: Test for the effect of acclimation to environmental thermal variability, namely 24 ± 0°C, 24 ± 4°C, and 24 ± 8°C, on the metabolic performance curve in the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor.

Results: Maximum resting metabolism and metabolic breadth were significantly different, but optimal temperature was similar, between treatments. Thus, increases in ambient thermal variability caused a reduction in maximum performance at each level of acclimation, with a decrease of almost 50% between the nil variability and ± 8°C daily variability treatments.

Conclusions: If thermal variability changes in any of the directions forecast by climatologists, ecologists will have to use mechanistic and modelling approaches based on physiological and biophysical traits to predict the biodiversity consequences of climate change.

Keywords: fitness, global warming, physiological responses, thermal variability.

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