Lizards To Fare Poorly By 2100 Due To Climate Change

By on November 5, 2015

Zootoca vivipara. (Credit: Stanislaw Szydlo/CC BY-SA 3.0)


A release appearing in PLOS Biology reports that a study of the common European lizard Zootoca vivipara has indicated they could be headed for significant population losses if the climate warms by 2 degrees Celsius. A 2-degree rise can speed up their life cycle, making them breed faster but also die more quickly, researchers found.

Using a semi-natural study enclosure called the Metatron, researchers compared 18 populations of lizards for a year, some at a current climate temperature and the others at 2 degrees Celsius higher. Even though lizards typically respond well to heat, it was discovered that they did not necessarily respond in beneficial ways to a 2-degree Celsius increase.

They matured faster and bred faster, but also died faster, leaving population decreases in their wake. However, a possibly hopeful sign for the lizards is that, while they bred fast and died younger, they were in some cases shown to have extra broods.

Top image: Zootoca vivipara. (Credit: Stanislaw Szydlo/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

One Comment

  1. wayne

    November 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I call bull s%$* on that one. Lizards were around in the time of dinosaurs, and obviously they are cold-blooded so warmer temps will benefit them. Look at the amazing lizard diversity in warmer areeas versus here in Canada we have a handful of species of reptiles. And how exactly does increased breeding result in population declines. Particularly when there will be holes in the ground that the lizards can go in to escape the heat if required (or to hibernate), unlike in an enclosure where heat is constant and unescapable. This is the problem with extrapolating enclosures studies into prediction of ecological effects.

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