NCEAS Project 3780

Thermal physiology and the abundance and distribution of ectotherms

  • John L. Sabo

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No activities scheduled at this time.

Temperature and thermal physiology shape the behavior, life history and population dynamics of ectotherms from insects to reptiles. Thus, there has been considerable interest in deriving mathematical relationships between temperature and the performance and fitness of these animals. Bioenergetic models provide a method for estimating the daily available activity time of animals. Furthermore, these energetics models can now be applied at large spatial scales using GIS, to generate contour maps of the potential activity time available to a focal animal or assemblage of animals. Energetic-based "activity time maps" offer ecologists and conservation biologists a practical tool for predicting habitat suitability for organisms across heterogeneous landscapes. However, activity time is an index only of whether an animal can or cannot perform in a specific habitat and thus, only a surrogate for habitat suitability. GIS-based energetics models cannot presently predict animal abundance. Temperature driven models of animal abundance would be useful not only as a tool for testing ecological hypotheses at the landscape scale, but also in identifying habitats that would support viable populations of species of special concern. As a postdoctoral fellow at NCEAS I will develop models that link energetics, activity time and population dynamics. I will then apply these models to test ecological hypotheses at two spatial scales. First, I will evaluate the role of landscape structure on lizard population dynamics at a local scale using data collected from a well-studied field site in Northern California. Second, I will use these models at a larger scale to develop a framework for predicting geographic variation in interaction strength among species in an assemblage of reptiles found in Western North America.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Bastow, Justin L.; Power, Mary E. 2002. Length-mass relationships for adult aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates in a California watershed. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. Vol: 21(2). The North American Benthological Society. Pages 336–343.
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Power, Mary E. 2002. Numerical response of lizards to aquatic insects and short-term consequences for terrestrial prey. Ecology. Vol: 83. Pages 3023-3036.
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Power, Mary E. 2002. River-watershed exchange: Effects of riverine subsidies on riparian lizards and their terrestrial prey. Ecology. Vol: 83. Pages 1860-1869.
Journal Article Sabo, John L.; Holmes, Elizabeth E.; Kareiva, Peter. 2004. Efficacy of simple viability models in ecological risk assessment: Does density dependence matter?. Ecology. Vol: 85. Pages 328-341.
Data Set Sabo, John L. 2008. United States Dam Locations with USGS Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC) and other descriptive attributes. (Online version)