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dc.contributor.authorHarrison, Liamen
dc.description.abstractEnvironmental temperatures are among the most significant factors affecting the ecology, behaviour, and evolution of organisms across all levels of biological organization. As such, understanding the impacts that natural thermal regimes have on organisms is central to the study of thermal ecology. Too often we, as ecologists, find ourselves drawing conclusions regarding interactions between temperature and organisms from laboratory studies using presumed optimal temperatures in studies of long-standing captive populations. Here, we used an observational field study to 1) describe the thermal ecology of a species of burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis, 2) document natural associations between temperature and reproductive behaviours, and 3) document natural associations between temperature and traits related to fitness. We found that 1) the realized thermal regime inside brood chambers differed from both non-use subterranean sites and the soil surface, as well as from the temperatures commonly used in captive studies, 2) beetles buried carrion deeper when air temperatures were warmer, and 3) temperature inside the brood chamber predicted life-history traits: mean larval mass was lower when temperature variation increased and, contrary to previous findings of captive studies in our lab, overall brood size increased with mean temperatures. Our findings suggest that we should use caution when interpreting results from past captive work on N. orbicollis, as the conditions used in these studies may not reflect those seen in nature, leading to results with limited biological relevance. However, by producing a detailed description of the thermal ecology of N. orbicollis and supplying correlative evidence linking fitness components to temperature, our work aims to provide a more ecologically relevant context for future work on this species and burying beetles more generally, with the added benefit of being able to better predict how climate change may impact this and other similar species in the future.en
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCanadian thesesen
dc.rightsQueen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canadaen
dc.rightsProQuest PhD and Master's Theses International Dissemination Agreementen
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dc.rightsCopying and Preserving Your Thesisen
dc.rightsThis publication is made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws without written authority from the copyright owner.en
dc.rightsAttribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States*
dc.subjectLife Historyen
dc.subjectPhenotypic Plasticityen
dc.subjectBurying Beetlesen
dc.subjectNicrophorus orbicollisen
dc.subjectThermal Ecologyen
dc.titleThermal Ecology and Plasticity in the Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis: An Observational Field Studyen
dc.contributor.supervisorBonier, Frances
dc.contributor.departmentBiologyen's University at Kingstonen

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Queen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canada
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Queen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canada