Does greater thermal plasticity facilitate range expansion of an invasive terrestrial anuran into higher latitudes?

Hugh S. Winwood-Smith, Lesley A. Alton, Craig E. Franklin, Craig R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Temperature has pervasive effects on physiological processes and is critical in setting species distribution limits. Since invading Australia, cane toads have spread rapidly across low latitudes, but slowly into higher latitudes. Low temperature is the likely factor limiting high-latitude advancement. Several previous attempts have been made to predict future cane toad distributions in Australia, but understanding the potential contribution of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation to future range expansion remains challenging. Previous research demonstrates the considerable thermal metabolic plasticity of the cane toad, but suggests limited thermal plasticity of locomotor performance. Additionally, the oxygen-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis predicts that reduced aerobic scope sets thermal limits for ectotherm performance. Metabolic plasticity, locomotor performance and aerobic scope are therefore predicted targets of natural selection as cane toads invade colder regions. We measured these traits at temperatures of 10, 15, 22.5 and 30°C in low- and high-latitude toads acclimated to 15 and 30°C, to test the hypothesis that cane toads have adapted to cooler temperatures. High-latitude toads show increased metabolic plasticity and higher resting metabolic rates at lower temperatures. Burst locomotor performance was worse for high-latitude toads. Other traits showed no regional differences. We conclude that increased metabolic plasticity may facilitate invasion into higher latitudes by maintaining critical physiological functions at lower temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercov010
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Physiology
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aerobic scope
  • Cane toad
  • Invasive species
  • Metabolic rate
  • Rhinella marina
  • Thermal plasticity

Cite this

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title = "Does greater thermal plasticity facilitate range expansion of an invasive terrestrial anuran into higher latitudes?",
abstract = "Temperature has pervasive effects on physiological processes and is critical in setting species distribution limits. Since invading Australia, cane toads have spread rapidly across low latitudes, but slowly into higher latitudes. Low temperature is the likely factor limiting high-latitude advancement. Several previous attempts have been made to predict future cane toad distributions in Australia, but understanding the potential contribution of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation to future range expansion remains challenging. Previous research demonstrates the considerable thermal metabolic plasticity of the cane toad, but suggests limited thermal plasticity of locomotor performance. Additionally, the oxygen-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis predicts that reduced aerobic scope sets thermal limits for ectotherm performance. Metabolic plasticity, locomotor performance and aerobic scope are therefore predicted targets of natural selection as cane toads invade colder regions. We measured these traits at temperatures of 10, 15, 22.5 and 30°C in low- and high-latitude toads acclimated to 15 and 30°C, to test the hypothesis that cane toads have adapted to cooler temperatures. High-latitude toads show increased metabolic plasticity and higher resting metabolic rates at lower temperatures. Burst locomotor performance was worse for high-latitude toads. Other traits showed no regional differences. We conclude that increased metabolic plasticity may facilitate invasion into higher latitudes by maintaining critical physiological functions at lower temperatures.",
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Does greater thermal plasticity facilitate range expansion of an invasive terrestrial anuran into higher latitudes? / Winwood-Smith, Hugh S.; Alton, Lesley A.; Franklin, Craig E.; White, Craig R.

In: Conservation Physiology, Vol. 3, No. 1, cov010, 01.01.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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