Lizards could face hard time adapting to warm habitat caused by climate change

Lizards could face hard time adapting to warm habitat caused by climate change

A new study has shownthat climate change is more dangerous for lizard species than what was believed earlier. Lizards being cold-blooded animals depend on their environment to control internal temperatures. That makes them one of most vulnerable creatures to climate change. The world has already experienced loss of many lizard species to climate change.

One of the implications of climate change as suggested by climate models is soaring global temperature. Rise in temperature would elevate lizard’s need for shade. Climate change would force the animal to spend most of its time and energy looking for shade to regulate its temperature in order to survive. Thus, climate change may impact lizard and its habitat more than thought before.

Study researchers have analyzed strain and limitations that thermoregulation have on lizards in warm temperature. To simulate a warm habitat for lizards, the researchers implanted temperature sensors into nine groups of spiny lizards, which were placed in an enclosed area in New Mexico desert. Each enclosure either had one large patch of shade, four medium patches of shade, or 16 small patches of shade.

The researchers found that lizards in enclosure with smaller patches were more successful at regulating their temperature than those provided with one large patch. Thus, they concluded that shade is essential for lizard to survive. Without lack of shade in ever changing climate, lizards could face hard time adapting to changing habitat.

"Everything in between, all bets are kind of off now because what our study suggests is that how bushes are placed in an environment might really impact the lizards just as much as the temperature itself”, said Michael Sears, a biologist at Clemson University, who also was lead author of the study.


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