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Energy expenditure of the spotted snow skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, at two climatic extremes of its distribution range


Yuni, LPEK and Jones, SM and Wapstra, E, Energy expenditure of the spotted snow skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, at two climatic extremes of its distribution range, Journal of Thermal Biology, 52 pp. 208-216. ISSN 0306-4565 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jtherbio.2015.07.003


The study of energy expenditure between populations of a wide ranging ectothermic species may provide an insight into how organisms respond to variation in environmental conditions. In this study, the energy expenditure of male spotted snow skinks, Niveoscincus ocellatus, living at the two extremes of the species' distribution range (warm lowland versus cold alpine site) was measured using the doubly labelled water method. Males at the cold alpine site expended more energy per gram per hour compared to their counterparts living at the warm lowland site. Lizards living at high altitude were active at lower temperatures compared with those at the low altitude site, which resulted in a longer activity time for the highland population. However, the differences in energy expenditure cannot be explained only by these differences in activity time. We further suggest that at the cold alpine site, lizards compensated for the low temperatures by elevating their metabolism which subsequently increased their energy expenditure. An elevated metabolic rate combined with modified thermoregulatory behaviour is likely an important mechanism allowing N. ocellatus to cope with the cold environments at high altitude sites.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:energy expenditure, doubly labelled water, lizards, activity time, metabolism
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Yuni, LPEK (Ms Luh Yuni)
UTAS Author:Jones, SM (Professor Susan Jones)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:106820
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT110100597)
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-02-22
Last Modified:2018-03-17

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