Additive effects of temperature and water availability on pregnancy in a viviparous lizard

One of the greatest current threats to biodiversity is climate change. However, understanding of organismal responses to fluctuations in temperature and water availability is currently lacking, especially during fundamental life-history stages such as reproduction. To further explore how temperature and water availability impact maternal physiology and reproductive output, we used the viviparous form of the European common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) in a two-by-two factorial design manipulating both hydric and thermal conditions, for the first time. We collected blood samples and morphological measurements during early pregnancy and postparturition to investigate how water availability, temperature and a combination of the two influence maternal phenology, morphology, physiology and reproductive output. We observed that dehydration during gestation negatively affects maternal physiological condition (lower mass gain, higher tail reserve mobilization) but has little effect on reproductive output. These effects are mainly additive to temperature regimes, with a proportional increase in maternal costs in warmer environments. Our study demonstrates the importance of considering combined effects of water and temperature when investigating organismal responses to climate changes, especially during periods crucial for species survival such as reproduction.


Pregnancy, Hydration, Temperature constraints, Oxidative status, Osmotic challenge

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Brusch George A., Gavira Rodrigo S. B., Viton Robin, Dupoue Andreaz, Leroux-Coyau Mathieu, Meylan Sandrine, Le Galliard Jean-Francois, Lourdais Olivier (2020). Additive effects of temperature and water availability on pregnancy in a viviparous lizard. Journal Of Experimental Biology. 223 (19). jeb228064 (10p.).,

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