P2.23 Thursday, Jan. 5 Mechanistic predictions of climate warming effects on energetics, activity and distribution of a high-altitude pit viper, Trimeresurus gracilis, in Taiwan HUANG, S.-P.*; PORTER, W. P.; CHIOU, C.-R.; LIN, T.-E.; LIN, C.-C.; TU, M.-C.; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Wisconsin, Madison; National Taiwan University, Taiwan; National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan; National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan; National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan firstname.lastname@example.org
Global warming has been reported to cause negative impacts on many taxa, but its influence on high-altitude reptiles, a rarely studied taxa, has never been forecasted. We employed a mechanistic model Niche MapperTM to investigate warming effects on energetics, activity and distribution of a rare high-altitude pit viper, Trimeresurus gracilis, in subtropical Taiwan. We measured functional traits for modeling, including preferred body temperatures, standard metabolic rates, evaporative water loss, and skin reflectivity. We used previously collected data on digestive physiology and feeding behaviors of this species and its congeneric species. The predicted performances were projected onto its current range in Taroko National Park using a fine-scale spatial dataset of longitude, latitude, topography, vegetation type, and climate. The results indicate that 1) energetics and activity time of this species are constrained by low body temperatures caused by the cold mountain climate and vegetation type, 2) the habitat of this species is severely limited to sunny areas with sufficient solar radiation, such as grassland and open areas, to obtain positive discretionary energy and longer activity time, and 3) activity time, maintenance energy cost, discretionary energy and habitats occupied would increase in response to a 3oC increase in air temperature, assuming food resources are unlimited. Based solely upon temperature effects, our study revealed that this species could benefit from increasing warmth by invading more habitats in the park and by enhancing energetic and activity performances generally.