Tropical lizards safe from climate change forced extinction

Yellow-spotted tropical night lizard near La S...

Yellow-spotted tropical night lizard near La Selva Biological Station (OTS), Costa Rica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some good news from Dartmouth College

Climate change may have little impact on tropical lizards

Dartmouth study contradicts predictions of widespread extinction

A new Dartmouth College study finds human-caused climate change may have little impact on many species of tropical lizards, contradicting a host of recent studies that predict their widespread extinction in a rapidly warming planet.

The findings, which appear in the journal Global Change Biology, offer new hope for survival of a creature thought to be doomed: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12253/abstract

Most predictions that tropical cold-blooded animals, especially forest lizards, will be hard hit by climate change are based on global-scale measurements of environmental temperatures, which miss much of the fine-scale variation in temperature that individual animals experience on the ground, said the article’s lead author, Michael Logan, a Ph.D. student in ecology and evolutionary biology.

To address this disconnect, the Dartmouth researchers measured environmental temperatures at extremely high resolution and used those measurements to project the effects of climate change on the running abilities of four populations of lizard from the Bay Islands of Honduras. Field tests on the captured lizards, which were released unharmed, were conducted between 2008 and 2012.

Previous studies have suggested that open-habitat tropical lizard species are likely to invade forest habitat and drive forest species to extinction, but the Dartmouth research suggests that the open-habitat populations will not invade forest habitat and may actually benefit from predicted warming for many decades. Conversely, one of the forest species studied should experience reduced activity time as a result of warming, while two others are unlikely to experience a significant decline in performance.

The overall results suggest that global-scale predictions generated using low-resolution temperature data may overestimate the vulnerability of many tropical lizards to climate change.

“Whereas studies conducted to date have made uniformly bleak predictions for the survival of tropical forest lizards around the globe, our data show that four similar species, occurring in the same geographic region, differ markedly in their vulnerabilities to climate

warming,” the authors wrote. “Moreover, none appear to be on the brink of extinction. Considering that these populations occur over extremely small geographic ranges, it is possible that many tropical forest lizards, which range over much wider areas, may have even greater opportunity to escape warming.”

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16 Responses to Tropical lizards safe from climate change forced extinction

  1. profitup10 says:

    My GRANT is bigger than your GRANT – What a waste of capital . . silly humans.

  2. geran says:

    We need a board to post the most ridiculous funded studies. This one would make the list.

    Perhaps, a most ridiculous for the week, month, year?

    And, then, coincide major winners with Nobel Prize announcements.

    Oh wait, they might be the same….

  3. jorgekafkazar says:

    I am so relieved! I’ve been losing sleep for years over this issue, thinking of all those poor threatened lizards. Now I can rest easy, with no worries to keep me awake. I think I’ll go drop in on Joe Romm and then head straight to bed for a good rest…

  4. goldminor says:

    but wait, the models for all of this are in progress as we think!!!

  5. Scott Flick says:

    Oh no Cook better change his numbers 97.001% of papers now endorse because this I believe would be a Group 2 paper for his study.

    Abstract
    Much attention has been given to recent predictions that widespread extinctions of tropical ectotherms, and tropical forest lizards in particular, will result from anthropogenic climate change.

    2. Explicit Endorsement of AGW without quantification
    2.1 Mention of anthropogenic global warming or anthropogenic climate change as a given fact.

  6. faboutlaws says:

    If the crops fail due to global warming, can we eat these lizards?

  7. Rhoda R says:

    “If the crops fail due to global warming, can we eat these lizards?”

    No. The UN wants us to eat bugs.

  8. profitup10 says:

    Do we not all eat BUGS – called LOBSTERS? Humm good.

  9. Resourceguy says:

    We are laying off how many at the Pentagon and elsewhere in exchange for grants for all things climate change?

  10. profitup10 says:

    Maybe we have cleaned out the NASA Grant baiters . . ??

  11. “Dartmouth researchers measured environmental temperatures at extremely high resolution”….

    Yes, EXTREMELY HIGH RESOLUTION, because this was one study where
    you did not want a hundredth of a degree error…it continues….

    “Field tests on the captured lizards, which were released unharmed”….

    Well, why take a Dartmouth scientist word on this when NBC News
    has a cub reporter with experience interviewing reptiles….

    http://wnd.com/2013/04/Chelsea-Clinton-interviews-Geico-gecko/

    How did the lizards really “feel” about the Dartmouth sauna treatment ? ? ?

  12. Jimbo says:

    Here is where WUWT covered it earlier. Handbags, shoes and belts with special cut price offers provided by yours truly.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/07/agwdead-lizards-maybe-its-not-the-heat-but-the-handbags-and-herpetology-aficiandos/

    Here is the earlier coverage.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/13/now-its-lizards-going-extinct-due-to-climate-change/

  13. u.k.(us) says:

    …… “Considering that these populations occur over extremely small geographic ranges, it is possible that many tropical forest lizards, which range over much wider areas, may have even greater opportunity to escape warming.”
    =============
    Lizards work better when warm, why try to escape it ?
    They follow the food.

  14. Patrick says:

    Good to see this study. Surely it addresses something which is often dismissed by researchers only looking at the “bigger picture”? That is that on a daily basis, in any region, fauna, flora and humans deal with large ranges of temperature and other weather conditions. On a daily basis, we adapt to the impacts from that range and other local conditions. Lizards are very adaptable and tough – just ask David Attenborough. ;)

  15. ntesdorf says:

    Lizards love to bask in the sun and hear up. Lack of global warming is going to make them all so mad.

  16. Brian H says:

    Another AGW prediction comes apart at the joints. EVEN IF there is rapid warming (which there is not, and will not be), the bio-niches will do fine.

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