Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2022


Lizards rely heavily on environmental temperatures to thermoregulate and maintain a body temperature (Tb) that optimizes physiological function and maximizes surface activity time. While early research noted the propensity for lizards to thermoregulate by shuttling between different thermal environments, it was long assumed that evaporative cooling via panting was an ineffective means of thermoregulation. However, evaporative cooling can potentially lower a lizard’s Tb significantly below air temperature, and thus allow lizards to extend activity periods during prolonged heat exposure. In this dissertation, I explore the varying abilities of lizards to thermoregulate while panting. I describe the metabolic and evaporative water costs of panting for lizards. Finally, I employ the mechanistic niche model ‘NicheMapR’ to explore the ecological consequences and evolutionary implications of thermoregulatory panting in lizards. Results from these studies indicate that panting is a highly important thermoregulation mechanism for lizards and may significantly affect how species cope with an increasingly warmer world.

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Blair Wolf

Second Committee Member

Seth Newsome

Third Committee Member

Steven Poe

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Kearney

Included in

Biology Commons