Caribbean lizards, victims and survivors of hurricanes

This 2014 video says about itself:

The Phylogenetic Tree of Anole Lizards

Biologist Jonathan Losos describes the traits that enable anole lizard species to live in their various habitats. In this educational video, join Dr. Losos on his quest to understand evolution by natural selection.

Explore the evolutionary path of the green anole lizards found in the Caribbean. Discover how the different species have evolved traits adapted to their environments and developed into distinct species.

From Nature magazine, 25 July 2018:

Hurricane-induced selection on the morphology of an island lizard

Hurricanes are catastrophically destructive. Beyond their toll on human life and livelihoods, hurricanes have tremendous and often long-lasting effects on ecological systems.

Despite many examples of mass mortality events following hurricanes, hurricane-induced natural selection has not previously been demonstrated. Immediately after we finished a survey of Anolis scriptus—a common, small-bodied lizard found throughout the Turks and Caicos archipelago—our study populations were battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Shortly thereafter, we revisited the populations to determine whether morphological traits related to clinging capacity had shifted in the intervening six weeks and found that populations of surviving lizards differed in body size, relative limb length and toepad size [which may help clinging to trees, thus surviving hurricanes] from those present before the storm.

Our serendipitous study, which to our knowledge is the first to use an immediately before and after comparison to investigate selection caused by hurricanes, demonstrates that hurricanes can induce phenotypic change in a population and strongly implicates natural selection as the cause.

In the decades ahead, as extreme climate events are predicted to become more intense and prevalent, our understanding of evolutionary dynamics needs to incorporate the effects of these potentially severe selective episodes.

Biologists have published a first-of-its-kind look at the physical characteristics of lizards that seem to make the difference between life and death in a hurricane: here.

See also here.

Global warming will increase the severity of hurricanes: here.

5 thoughts on “Caribbean lizards, victims and survivors of hurricanes

  1. Pingback: Lizards dreaming like humans? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Caribbean lizards evolution, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: New Caribbean black iguana species discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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