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Published on Jul 18, 2012
Although climate change is heating polar and temperate areas faster than the tropics, evidence is mounting that tropical ectotherms (animals that don't produce their own heat) will be negatively affected by the relatively mild warming they do experience. Duke researchers tested this idea at a fine scale with the Puerto Rican crested anole, Anolis cristatellus, by combining data on the lizard's current habitat temperature and physiology with predictions of future air temperatures to estimate how the lizards will be affected. They found that warming will likely be detrimental to lizards inhabiting the dry scrub forests, as future temperatures will often exceed their upper physiological temperature threshold. However, lizards found in moist shaded forests may be little affected by warming.