THERMAL ECOLOGY OF THE FEDERALLY ENDANGERED BLUNT-NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD (GAMBELIA SILA).
Kat N. Ivey; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; 1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA, 93407; (805) 235-0551; ivey.kathleen@yahoo.com; Emily Taylor, Michael Westphal
Recognizing how climate change will impact populations can aid researchers and managers in making decisions about the conservation of endangered species. The blunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila) is a federally endangered lizard found in the arid deserts of the San Joaquin Valley and the Carrizo Plain. It has been extirpated from most of its range due to habitat destruction and alteration. We collected field-active body temperatures of G. sila, combined with operative temperature model data, preferred body temperatures (29.7 C), and thermal tolerance (41 C) data for the population, which allowed us to (1) calculate the number of hours lizards are thermally constrained, (2) project how this number will change in the future as ambient temperatures rise, and (3) assess the importance of shade-providing shrubs and burrows in the current/future thermal ecology of G. sila. In addition, we used telemetry data, field-active body temperatures, and operative temperatures to evaluate temperature-based activity estimation as a means of predicting lizard activity and microhabitat use. Lizards maintained body temperatures just below critical thermal maximum but exceeded preferred body temperature throughout most of the day. Overall, our data suggest shrubs and burrows provide an important refuge and aid in thermoregulation for this species.
Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles II   Student Paper