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      The impact of multiple climatic and geographic factors on the chemical defences of Asian toads ( Bufo gargarizans Cantor)

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          Abstract

          Chemical defences are widespread in nature, yet we know little about whether and how climatic and geographic factors affect their evolution. In this study, we investigated the natural variation in the concentration and composition of the main bufogenin toxin in adult Asian toads ( Bufo gargarizans Cantor) captured in twenty-two regions. Moreover, we explored the relative importance of eight climatic factors (average temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, average relative humidity, 20–20 time precipitation, maximum continuous precipitation, maximum ground temperature, and minimum ground temperature) in regulating toxin production. We found that compared to toads captured from central and southwestern China, toads from eastern China secreted higher concentrations of cinobufagin (CBG) and resibufogenin (RBG) but lower concentrations of telocinobufagin (TBG) and cinobufotalin (CFL). All 8 climatic variables had significant effects on bufogenin production ( r i >0.5), while the plastic response of bufogenin toxin to various climate factors was highly variable. The most important climatic driver of total bufogenin production was precipitation: the bufogenin concentration increased with increasing precipitation. This study indicated that the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in chemical defences may depend at least partly on the geographic variation of defensive toxins and their climatic context.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change

          Ecological changes in the phenology and distribution of plants and animals are occurring in all well-studied marine, freshwater, and terrestrial groups. These observed changes are heavily biased in the directions predicted from global warming and have been linked to local or regional climate change through correlations between climate and biological variation, field and laboratory experiments, and physiological research. Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change. Tropical coral reefs and amphibians have been most negatively affected. Predator-prey and plant-insect interactions have been disrupted when interacting species have responded differently to warming. Evolutionary adaptations to warmer conditions have occurred in the interiors of species' ranges, and resource use and dispersal have evolved rapidly at expanding range margins. Observed genetic shifts modulate local effects of climate change, but there is little evidence that they will mitigate negative effects at the species level.
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            Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide.

            The first global assessment of amphibians provides new context for the well-publicized phenomenon of amphibian declines. Amphibians are more threatened and are declining more rapidly than either birds or mammals. Although many declines are due to habitat loss and overutilization, other, unidentified processes threaten 48% of rapidly declining species and are driving species most quickly to extinction. Declines are nonrandom in terms of species' ecological preferences, geographic ranges, and taxonomic associations and are most prevalent among Neotropical montane, stream-associated species. The lack of conservation remedies for these poorly understood declines means that hundreds of amphibian species now face extinction.
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              Thermal-safety margins and the necessity of thermoregulatory behavior across latitude and elevation.

              Physiological thermal-tolerance limits of terrestrial ectotherms often exceed local air temperatures, implying a high degree of thermal safety (an excess of warm or cold thermal tolerance). However, air temperatures can be very different from the equilibrium body temperature of an individual ectotherm. Here, we compile thermal-tolerance limits of ectotherms across a wide range of latitudes and elevations and compare these thermal limits both to air and to operative body temperatures (theoretically equilibrated body temperatures) of small ectothermic animals during the warmest and coldest times of the year. We show that extreme operative body temperatures in exposed habitats match or exceed the physiological thermal limits of most ectotherms. Therefore, contrary to previous findings using air temperatures, most ectotherms do not have a physiological thermal-safety margin. They must therefore rely on behavior to avoid overheating during the warmest times, especially in the lowland tropics. Likewise, species living at temperate latitudes and in alpine habitats must retreat to avoid lethal cold exposure. Behavioral plasticity of habitat use and the energetic consequences of thermal retreats are therefore critical aspects of species' vulnerability to climate warming and extreme events.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                wang2000@zju.edu.cn
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                21 November 2019
                21 November 2019
                2019
                : 9
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0004 1759 700X, GRID grid.13402.34, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, ; Hangzhou, 310058 China
                Article
                52641
                10.1038/s41598-019-52641-4
                6872595
                31754241
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                animal physiology, evolutionary ecology

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