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Trends Ecol Evol. 1989 May;4(5):131-5. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(89)90211-5.

Evolution of thermal sensitivity of ectotherm performance.

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Raymond Huey and Joel Kingsolver are at the Dept of Zoology NJ-15, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Most ectothermal animals have variable body temperatures. Because physiological rates are temperature sensitive, an ectotherm's behavioural and ecological performance - even its fitness - can be influenced by body temperature. As a result, the thermal sensitivity of ectotherm performance is relevant to diverse issues in physiology, ecology and evolution. This review formalizes an emerging framework for investigating the evolution of thermal sensitivity, outlines some functional and genetical constraints on that evolution, and summarizes comparative and experimental advances in this field.

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