Journal article

Adjusting to climate: Acclimation, adaptation and developmental plasticity in physiological traits of a tropical rainforest lizard

John Llewelyn, Stewart L Macdonald, Craig Moritz, Felipe Martins, Amberlee Hatcher, Ben L Phillips



The impact of climate change may be felt most keenly by tropical ectotherms. In these taxa, it is argued, thermal specialization means a given shift in temperature will have a larger effect on fitness. For species with limited dispersal ability, the impact of climate change depends on the capacity for their climate-relevant traits to shift. Such shifts can occur through genetic adaptation, various forms of plasticity, or a combination of these processes. Here we assess the extent and causes of shifts in 7 physiological traits in a tropical lizard, the rainforest sunskink (Lampropholis coggeri). Two populations were sampled that differ from each other in both climate and physiological traits...

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Kyana Pike, Margaret Murray and Naomi Harney for their help with animal husbandry, and Joe Holtum for lending us equipment. This study adhered to the legal requirements for animal research in Australia (JCU animal ethics permits: A1976 and A1726; collection permits: WISP10659412, WISP14625914, WITK15224114 and WITK10659112). Funding was provided by the Australian Research Council (DP1094646, 1301003181, FL110100104 and FT160100198 to BLP and CM) and the Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture between James Cook University and CSIRO (to JL and SLM).