DDD Conference

Mr. Gavin Stark

All Microhabitats Matter: Habitat Loss May Constrain Thermoregulation in Extreme Environments and under Future Climate

Tel Aviv University, Israel


As habitat loss and climate change threat global biodiversity, we need a theoretical framework for predicting the combined impacts of these two threats on the performance of organisms. By combining empirical and modelling approaches, we show the cascading effect of habitat loss and climate change on activity time and on thermoregulatory accuracy in a diurnal desert lizard. During summer, lizards’ activity severely decreased, as a consequence of removing medium and large rocks, while their activity during winter was limited only to the open ground. Future warming will gradually decrease summer activity as even large rocks become thermally stressful but may increase winters’ activity. However, these warmer winters will gradually require bushes and small rocks as shade retreats. Hence, size and types of microhabitats that may seem unimportant today may become important under climate change. Such modelling frameworks may be crucial to understand the species’ microhabitat requirements and develop conservation programs.

Skip to content