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Adaptive responses to cool climate promotes persistence of a non-native lizard


While, GM and Williamson, J and Prescott, G and Horvathova, T and Fresnillo, B and Beeton, NJ and Halliwell, B and Michaelides, S and Uller, T, Adaptive responses to cool climate promotes persistence of a non-native lizard, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282, (1803) Article 20142638. ISSN 0962-8452 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author(s) Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.2638


Successful establishment and range expansion of non-native species often require rapid accommodation of novel environments. Here, we use common garden experiments to demonstrate parallel adaptive evolutionary response to a cool climate in populations of wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) introduced from southern Europe into England. Low soil temperatures in the introduced range delay hatching, which generates directional selection for a shorter incubation period. Non-native lizards from two separate lineages have responded to this selection by retaining their embryos for longer before oviposition— hence reducing the time needed to complete embryogenesis in the nest—and by an increased developmental rate at low temperatures. This divergence mirrors local adaptation across latitudes and altitudes within widely distributed species and suggests that evolutionary responses to climate can be very rapid. When extrapolated to soil temperatures encountered in nests within the introduced range, embryo retention and faster developmental rate result in one to several weeks earlier emergence compared with the ancestral state. We show that this difference translates into substantial survival benefits for offspring. This should promote short- and long-term persistence of nonnative populations, and ultimately enable expansion into areas that would be unattainable with incubation duration representative of the native range.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptive divergence, range expansion, incubation duration, wall lizard
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiological ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
UTAS Author:Beeton, NJ (Dr Nicholas Beeton)
UTAS Author:Halliwell, B (Dr Benjamin Halliwell)
ID Code:98572
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2015-02-19
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:186 View Download Statistics

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