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Climate and sex ratio variation in a viviparous lizard


Cunningham, GD and While, GM and Wapstra, E, Climate and sex ratio variation in a viviparous lizard, Biology Letters, 13, (5) Article 20170218. ISSN 1744-9561 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2017.0218


The extent to which key biological processes, such as sex determination, respond to environmental fluctuations is fundamental for assessing species' susceptibility to ongoing climate change. Few studies, however, address how climate affects offspring sex in the wild. We monitored two climatically distinct populations of the viviparous skink Niveoscincus ocellatus for 16 years, recording environmental temperatures, offspring sex and date of birth. We found strong population-specific effects of temperature on offspring sex, with female offspring more common in warm years at the lowland site but no effect at the highland site. In contrast, date of birth advanced similarly in response to temperature at both sites. These results suggest strong population-specific effects of temperature on offspring sex that are independent of climatic effects on other physiological processes. These results have significant implications for our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of variation in sex ratios under climate change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sex ratio, climate variation, reptile, climate change, behavioural buffering
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Cunningham, GD (Mr George Cunningham)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Associate Professor Geoff While)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:117259
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-06-05
Last Modified:2018-05-08

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