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Arizona State University (2017)

Eco-Physiological Implications of Conservation of Dhubs ( Uromastyx aegyptius) in Kuwait

Al-Sayegh, Mohammed Taher

Titre : Eco-Physiological Implications of Conservation of Dhubs ( Uromastyx aegyptius) in Kuwait

Auteur : Al-Sayegh, Mohammed Taher

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2017

Desert environments provide considerable challenges to organisms because of high temperatures and limited food and water resources. Accordingly, desert species have behavioral and physiological traits that enable them to cope with these constraints. However, continuing human activity as well as anticipated further changes to the climate and the vegetative community pose a great challenge to such balance between an organism and its environment. This is especially true in the Arabian Desert, where climate conditions are extreme and environmental disturbances substantial. This study combined laboratory and field components to enhance our understanding of dhub (Uromastyx aegyptius) ecophysiology and determine whether habitat protection influences dhub behavior and physiology.
Results of this study showed that while body mass and body condition consistently diminished as the active season progressed, they were both greater in protected habitats compared to non-protected habitats, regardless of season. Dhubs surface activity and total body water decreased while evaporative water loss and body temperature increased as the active season progressed and ambient temperature got hotter. Total body water was also significantly affected by habitat protection.
Overall, this study revealed that, while habitat protection provided more vegetation, it had little effect on seasonal changes in surface activity. While resource availability in protected areas might allow for larger dhub populations, unprotected areas showed similar body morphometrics, activity, and body temperatures. By developing an understanding of how different coping strategies are linked to particular ecological, morphological, and phylogenetic traits, we will be able to make more accurate predictions regarding the vulnerability of species. By combining previous studies pertaining to conservation of protected species with the results of my study, a number of steps in ecosystem management are recommended to help in the preservation of dhubs in the Kuwaiti desert.


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