Journal article

Field tests of a general ectotherm niche model show how water can limit lizard activity and distribution

Michael R Kearney, Suzanne L Munns, Danae Moore, Matthew Malishev, C Michael Bull



Mechanistic forecasts of how species will respond to climate change are highly desired but difficult to achieve. Because processes at different scales are explicit in such models, careful assessments of their predictive abilities can provide valuable insights that will be relevant to functionally similar species. However, there are surprisingly few comprehensive field tests of mechanistic niche models in the literature. We applied a general, thermodynamically grounded modeling framework to determine the fundamental niche of an extremely well-studied herbivorous ectotherm, the sleepy lizard Tiliqua rugosa. We then compared the model predictions with detailed long-term field observations that ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC

Awarded by Australia and Pacific Science Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by ARC Discovery grants DP140101240 and DP110102813 to M. R. Kearney and DP0877384 to C. M. Bull. It was also supported by a resource allocation grant from the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (Melbourne Bioinformatics) to M. R. Kearney and an Australia and Pacific Science Foundation grant APSF 13/5 to M. R. Kearney and D. Moore. The work was conducted under Flinders Animal Welfare Permit E232, South Australian Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources Research Permit A23436, James Cook University Animal Ethics permits A1159, A1478, A1864, and Queensland EPA permits WISP 06328209, WISP12106012. We dedicate this work to the memories of Mike Bull and his long-term field technician Dale Burzacott, who both passed away before the work was completed.