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Evaluating thermoregulation in reptiles: An appropriate null model

Christian, Keith A., Tracy, Christopher R. and Tracy, Richard C. (2006). Evaluating thermoregulation in reptiles: An appropriate null model. The American Naturalist,168(3):421-430.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 20 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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IRMA ID 80801157xPUB41
Title Evaluating thermoregulation in reptiles: An appropriate null model
Author Christian, Keith A.
Tracy, Christopher R.
Tracy, Richard C.
Journal Name The American Naturalist
Publication Date 2006
Volume Number 168
Issue Number 3
ISSN 1537-5323   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33748778817
Start Page 421
End Page 430
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Chicago, United States
Publisher The University of Chicago Press
0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Established indexes of thermoregulation in ectotherms compare body temperatures of real animals with a null distribution of operative temperatures from a physical or mathematical model with the same size, shape, and color as the actual animal but without mass. These indexes, however, do not account for thermal inertia or the effects of inertia when animals move through thermally heterogeneous environments. Some recent models have incorporated body mass, to account for thermal inertia and the physiological control of warming and cooling rates seen in most reptiles, and other models have incorporated movement through the environment, but none includes all pertinent variables explaining body temperature. We present a new technique for calculating the distribution of body temperatures available to ectotherms that have thermal inertia, random movements, and different rates of warming and cooling. The approach uses a biophysical model of heat exchange in ectotherms and a model of random interaction with thermal environments over the course of a day to create a null distribution of body temperatures that can be used with conventional thermoregulation indexes. This new technique provides an unbiased method for evaluating thermoregulation in large ectotherms that store heat while moving through complex environments, but it can also generate null models for ectotherms of all sizes.

Keywords body size
boy temperature
null model
operative temperature
thermal inertia
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