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Title: Mediterranean songbirds show pronounced seasonal variation in thermoregulatory traits
Authors: González Medina, Erick
Playà Montmany, Núria
Cabello Vergel, Julián
Parejo Nieto, Manuel
Abad Gómez-Pantoja, José María
Sánchez Guzmán, Juan Manuel
Keywords: Estacionalidad;Paseriformes;Flexibilidad fenotípica;Rasgos termorreguladores;Zona termoneutra;Seasonality;Passerines;Phenotypic flexibility;Thermoregulatory traits;Thermoneutral zone
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Addressing the patterns of variation in thermal traits is crucial to better predict the potential effects of climate change on organisms. Here, we assessed seasonal (winter vs summer) adjustments in key thermoregulatory traits in eight Mediterranean-resident songbirds. Overall, songbirds increased whole-animal (by 8%) and mass-adjusted (by 9%) basal metabolic rate and decreased (by 56%) thermal conductance below the thermoneutral zone during winter. The magnitude of these changes was within the lower values found in songbirds from northern temperate areas. Moreover, songbirds increased (by 11%) evaporative water loss within the thermoneutral zone during summer, while its rate of increase above the inflection point of evaporative water loss (i.e., the slope of evaporative water loss versus temperature) decreased by 35% during summer — a value well above that reported for other temperate and tropical songbirds. Finally, body mass increased by 5% during winter, a pattern similar to that found in many northern temperate species. Our findings support the idea that physiological adjustments might enhance the resilience of Mediterranean songbirds to environmental changes, with short-term benefits by saving energy and water under thermally stressful conditions. Nevertheless, not all species showed the same patterns, suggesting different strategies in their thermoregulatory adaptations to seasonal environments.
ISSN: 1095-6433
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2023.111408
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