About this Research Topic
Avian abilities to respond to extreme cold and heat are defined by thermoregulatory capacities for heat production or dissipation, respectively. Behavioral responses to temperature challenges can reduce the necessity for and magnitude of physiological adjustments, so together, physiological capacities and behavioral responses determine the probability of survival in thermally challenging situations. Moreover, thermal conditions experienced during reproduction can affect parental investment in the nesting effort and, independently, alter the course of nestling development, with potentially long-term consequences. Behavioral responses to these conditions as well as physiological responses at multiple levels of organization, from organisms to molecules, allow birds to tolerate thermal challenges. Our knowledge of the mechanisms by which birds respond, the time course for such responses, and the impacts on fitness, however, remain incompletely understood. Studies examining behavioral and physiological responses of birds to extreme and/or seasonally variable climates have been a research focus for decades, but recent advances in methods of measurement and analyses of physiological and behavioral traits have led to novel findings regarding the patterns and mechanisms by which birds adjust to challenging thermal environments.
This Research Topic examines how thermal conditions in the environment pose challenges to birds and the physiological and behavioral adjustments that birds employ to meet them. Articles for this Research Topic may be original research papers, reviews, or perspectives. Specific themes that we believe are suitable for this Research Topic include, but are not limited to:
• Integrative mechanisms underlying bird thermoregulatory capacities contributing to a tolerance of challenging thermal environments and their links to fitness
• Influence of thermal conditions during reproduction on parental investment or nestling development
• Behavioral responses to challenging thermal conditions and their mechanistic underpinnings
• Time courses for physiological adjustments to environmental temperature variation
• Physiological and behavioral flexibility associated with daily or seasonal temperature variation
• Physiological and behavioral responses and tolerance limits during extreme weather events
• Body temperature regulation under challenging thermal conditions and energy or water restrictions, including real-time field measurements and thermal imaging
• Body temperature regulation and environmental or ecological drivers of hypometabolic strategies
• Physiological consequences of exceeding thermoregulatory capacities
Keywords: thermoregulation, heat tolerance, cold tolerance, climate change, metabolic rates, avian
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.