Acute, diel, and annual temperature variability and the thermal biology of ectotherms

Ben J. Kefford, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Beatrice Dewenter, N. Le Roy Poff, Jane Hughes, Jollene Reich, Ross Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Global warming is increasing mean temperatures and altering temperature variability at multiple temporal scales. To better understand the consequences of changes in thermal variability for ectotherms it is necessary to consider thermal variation at different time scales (i.e., acute, diel, and annual) and the responses of organisms within and across generations. Thermodynamics constrain acute responses to temperature, but within these constraints and over longer time periods, organisms have the scope to adaptively acclimate or evolve. Yet, hypotheses and predictions about responses to future warming tend not to explicitly consider the temporal scale at which temperature varies. Here, focusing on multicellular ectothermic animals, we argue that consideration of multiple processes and constraints associated with various timescales is necessary to better understand how altered thermal variability because of climate change will affect ectotherms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sep 2022

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