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Physiological capacities and tolerances as determinants of habitat occupation and susceptibility to climatic change in anuran amphibians

Grant number: 23/00178-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2023
Effective date (End): April 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Physiology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Denis Otavio Vieira de Andrade
Grantee:Georgia Karoline Kosmala
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/10910-0 - Physiological capacities and resilience facing climate change: exploring the functional dimension in ectothermic vertebrates, AP.TEM


Mechanistic modeling approaches have increasingly been recognized as a robust tool to evaluate the resilience/vulnerability of populations and species in face of habitat modification, such as that posed by climatic change. Although this approach has proved insightful in studies focused on lizards, its application to other ectothermic groups, with diverse set of functional attributes, needs to be adapted and validated. For example, while attributes associated to the thermal biology are often accepted as centrally important to many Squamates, in amphibians, water balance traits are likely to be as much relevant to animal function, perhaps even more, than thermal considerations. This is related to the particularly permeable skin of the amphibians and indicates that any study dedicated to understand habitat occupancy and the risks posed by climatic change to the conservation of this group must incorporate not only attributes associated to their thermal biology but also attributes relevant to the maintenance of their adequate water balance. Collecting detailed information on such attributes in a number of selected species of anuran amphibians is the primary goal of the present proposal. In particular, we will determine thermal preference and tolerance, body temperature of activity, behavioral performance curves (in function of changes in body temperature and hydration states), and some water balance parameters, such as skin resistance to water evaporation, tolerance to dehydration, and water reabsorption. We will also collect data on the animal´s ecology (ex., phenological patterns of activity, habitat use, etc) and about the physical characteristics of the environment and of the particular micro-habitat explored by the animals. With this set of information, we will proceed to evaluate whether (or not) the physiological capacities and tolerances are determinant to habitat occupancy for the species studied. Finally, we will incorporate the functional attributes that proved to be relevant into mechanistic modeling approaches that, once projected onto scenarios of climate change, will yield robust predictions about the vulnerability of populations and species to the risk of extinction in the future. (AU)

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