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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

versión On-line ISSN 2007-8706versión impresa ISSN 1870-3453


LARA-RESENDIZ, Rafael A. et al. Effects of climate change on a widely distributed thermophilic lizard (Dipsosaurus dorsalis): an ecophysiological approach. Rev. Mex. Biodiv. [online]. 2019, vol.90, e902888.  Epub 09-Sep-2019. ISSN 2007-8706.

Global climate change is a major known threat against biodiversity, however, it is still unclear how it will affect different taxonomic groups as the answer is dependent on species-specific natural history and habitat complexity. Desert reptiles are of particular concern because they must thermoregulate within optimal limits despite high environmental temperatures. As such, our study focused on the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis), a thermophilic lizard widely distributed in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts and an ideal model to evaluate global warming effects in extreme environments. We created our vulnerability models using a mechanistic approach combining ecophysiological and biophysical variables. First, field body temperatures and the operative temperatures were collected at 4 contrasting sites. Second, 2 ecophysiological layers were constructed according to hours of activity, hours of restriction and precipitation. Lastly, models for the present and future (2050 and 2070) were created under 2 scenarios (RCP 4.5 and 8.5). As a result of their high thermal tolerance, our models suggest that D. dorsalis shows strong potential for resilience to global warming, through an increase in suitable climate niches and a potential distribution range expansion under all climate scenarios.

Palabras llave : Range expansion; Ecophysiology; Desert iguana; Mechanistic model; Species distribution model; Operative temperature.

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