Lizard Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


My initial research in biology was in community ecology of lizards, and my work was inspired heavily by Eric Pianka (my MA advisor) and by Tom Schoener. Soon, however, I shifted focus to the thermal biology of lizards.

Then, while working with Paul Hertz and Al Bennett, I became increasingly fascinated with the evolution of thermal sensitivity of ectotherms, especially in exploring different ways to study this topic. Along the way I interpreted temperature regulation in an ecological context, emphasized the ecological and evolutionary importance of studying organismal performance measures, developed and applied phylogenetic approaches to study the evolution of physiological performance, used demographic approaches to investigate patterns of selection and of aging in natural populations, and helped explore "allometric engineering" in physiological and life history studies.

With several colleagues, I'm looking at latitudinal patterns of risk from climate warming; and our work is suggesting that tropical ectotherms—not just high-latitude ones—are vulnerable to climate warming. This has been a fun project, in part because I'm analyzing old data in a very new way—and finding our old data from Puerto Rico (some collected as early as 1972—part of my thesis research) are superb for analyzing physiological and ecological impact of climate warming. Moreover, we are replicating projects we did in Puerto Rico back in the early '70s and '80s, looking for shifts that might be caused by climate warming. These current projects are also being done with some vintage friends and colleagues (George Gorman, Paul Hertz, Brad Lister, Don Miles, Barry Sinervo) and some relatively new ones (Patricia Burrowes, Steven Chown, Luisa Otero). The website for our main Puerto Rico project is

Representative Huey Papers on Lizards

Community Ecology
Temperature Regulation
Organismal Performance
Phylogenetic Approaches
Demographic Approaches
Allometric Engineering
General Evolutionary Physiology
General Ecology

Community ecology

1974. Ecological character displacement in a lizard. American Zoologist 14:1127-1136 (first author, with E.R. Pianka).
1979. Parapatry and niche complementarity of Peruvian desert geckos (Phyllodactylus): the ambiguous role of competition. Oecologia (Berl.) 38:249-259.
1981. Ecological consequences of foraging mode.Ecology 62:991-999 (first author, with E.R. Pianka).
2007. Historical introduction: On widely foraging for Kalahari lizards. pp. 1 - 10, In: The Foraging biology of lizards: evolutionary consequences of foraging mode. S.M. Reilly, L. D. McBrayer, and D.B Miles, eds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. (First author, with E. R. Pianka). Read Online.

Temperature regulation

1974. Behavioral thermoregulation in lizards: importance of associated costs. Science (Wash., D.C.) 184:100l-1003.
1976. Costs and benefits of lizard thermoregulation. Quarterly Review of Biology 51:363-384 (first author, with M. Slatkin).
1977. Seasonal patterns of thermoregulatory behavior and body temperature of diurnal Kalahari lizards. Ecology 58:1066-1075 (first author, with E.R. Pianka and with appendix by J.A. Hoffman).
1989. Hot rocks and not-so-hot rocks: retreat-site selection by garter snakes and its thermal consequences. Ecology 70:931-944. (First author with C. R. Peterson, S. J. Arnold, and W. P. Porter).
1993. How carefully do ectotherms regulate body temperature? The Fallacy of the Inappropriate Question. Am. Nat. 142:796-818. (Second author, with P. E. Hertz, and R. D. Stevenson).
2007. Lizard thermal biology: do genders differ? American Naturalist 170:473-478. (First author, with E. R. Pianka).

Organismal performance

1979. Integrating thermal physiology and ecology of ectotherms: a discussion of approaches. American Zoologist 19:357-366. (first author, with R.D. Stevenson).
1982. Temperature, physiology, and the ecology of reptiles. pp. 25-91. In: C. Gans and F. H. Pough, eds., Biology of the Reptilia Vol. 12, Physiology (C). Academic Press, London.

Phylogenetic approaches

1986. A comparative approach to field and laboratory studies in evolutionary ecology, pp. 82-98. In M.E. Feder and G. Lauder, eds., Predator-Prey Relationships in Lower Vertebrates. University of Chicago Press. (First author, with A. F. Bennett).
1987.Phylogenetic studies of coadaptation: preferred temperatures versus optimal performance temperatures of lizards. Evolution, 41:1098-1115. (first author with A. F. Bennett).
1987. Phylogeny, history, and the comparative method, pp.76-98. In M. E. Feder, A. F. Bennett, W. W. Burggren, and R. B. Huey, eds., New Directions in Ecological Physiology, Cambridge University Press.

Demographic approaches

1989. Repeatability of individual differences in locomotor performance and body size during early ontogeny of the lizard Sceloporus occidentalis. Functional Ecology 3:97-105. (Second author, with F. H. van Berkum, J.S. Tsuji, and T. Garland, Jr.).
1990. Variation in locomotor performance in demographically known populations of the lizard Sceloporus merriami. Physiological Zoology 63:845-872. (First author, with A. E. Dunham, K. L. Overall, and R. A. Newman).
2001. Temperature, demography, and ectotherm fitness. American Naturalist 158:204-210. (First author, with D. Berrigan).

Allometric engineering

1990. Allometric engineering: an experimental test of the causes of interpopulational differences in performance. Science 248:1106-1109. (Second author, with B. Sinervo).
1992. Allometric engineering: a causal analysis of natural selection on offspring size. Science 258:1927-1930 (Third author, with B. Sinervo, P. Doughty, and K. Zamudio).

General evolutionary physiology

1987. Testing symmorphosis: does structure match functional requirements? Evolution 41:1404-1409 (second author, with T. Garland, Jr.)
1989. Evolution of thermal sensitivity of ectotherms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 4:131-135. (First author, with J. G. Kingsolver)
1990. Studying the evolution of physiological performance. In: D. J. Futuyma and J. Antonovics, eds., Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 6., pp. 251-284, . Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K. (second author, with A. F. Bennett)
2000. Evolutionary physiology. Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics. (Third author, with M. E. Feder and A. F. Bennett)
2002. Plants versus animals: do they deal with stress in different ways? Integrative and Comparative Biology 42: 415-423. (First author, with M. Carlson, L. Crozier, M. Frazier, H. Hamilton, C. Harley, A. Hoang, and J.G. Kingsolver).
2003. Behavioral drive versus behavioral inertia in evolution: a null model approach. American Naturalist 161:357-366. (First author, with P.E. Hertz and B. Sinervo).
2003. Mutation, performance, fitness. Integrative and Comparative Biology 43:387-395. (First author, with G.W. Gilchrist, K. Ward, L. Maves, D. Pepin, and D. Houle).

General ecology

1977. Natural selection for juvenile lizards mimicking noxious beetles.Science (Wash., D.C.) 195:201-203 (first author, with E.R. Pianka).
1978. Latitudinal pattern of between-altitude faunal similarity: Mountains might be "higher" in the tropics. American Naturalist 112:225-229.
2001. How often do lizards 'run on empty'? Ecology 82:1-7 (First author, with E. R. Pianka and L. J. Vitt.).
2006. Are mountain passes higher in the tropics? Janzen's hypothesis revisited. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46:5-17. (Second author, with C. K. Ghalambor, P. R. Martin, J. J. Tewksbury, and G. Wang).

Note: Links to some publications are available in PDF format. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader go here to download a free version.