Lizards in the Cold
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that investigated how anole lizards may adapt to extremely cold temperatures.
Extreme climate events can drive evolutionary changes in populations. In this study, scientists investigated how winter storms in the southern United States affected local populations of anole lizards. Figure 1 shows the locations of the populations in the study, and Figure 2 (shown above) shows how the cold tolerance of the populations changed over time. Cold tolerance was measured using the critical thermal minimum, the temperature at which the lizards lost their coordination.
The “Educator Materials” document includes captioned figures, background information, figure interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes captioned figures and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Describe how extreme climate events, such as storms, can drive natural selection in populations.
Anolis, cold tolerance, error bar, extreme climate event, line graph, lizard, map, polar vortex, scatter plot, standard error of the mean (SEM)
Campbell-Staton, S. C., Z. A. Cheviron, N. Rochette, J. Catchen, J. B. Losos, and S. V. Edwards. “Winter storms drive rapid phenotypic, regulatory, and genomic shifts in the green anole lizard.” Science 357, 6350 (2017): 495–498. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aam5512.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1.E, EVO-1.G, EVO-3.E; SP1, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 2.4, 2.6
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.F, ERT-2.H, SP2, SP5
Common Core (2010)
Math.S-ID.2; MP2, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1; DP2, DP3