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Seasonality in Kgalagadi Lizards: Inferences from Legacy Data.

Authors
  • Huey, Raymond B
  • Miles, Donald B
  • Pianka, Eric R
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American Naturalist
Publisher
The University of Chicago Press
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2021
Volume
198
Issue
6
Pages
759–771
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1086/716895
PMID: 34762567
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

AbstractAn ecological issue can best be studied by gathering original data that are specifically targeted for that issue. But ascertaining-a priori-whether a novel issue will be worth exploring can be problematic without background data. However, an issue's potential merit can sometimes be evaluated by repurposing legacy or other data that had been gathered for unrelated purposes but that are nonetheless relevant. Our present project was initially motivated by an ecological trade-off-proposed eight decades ago-involving the depth at which desert reptiles overwintered. To address those and related issues, we repurposed our five-decades-old natural history data for 18 species of Kgalagadi lizards and then explored the seasonal ecology of these lizards, emphasizing winter. Our data were not gathered for a study of seasonal ecology but nonetheless inform diverse seasonal patterns for a major community of lizards. However, repurposed data (whether recent or legacy) present challenges and ambiguities, and we suggest targeted, next-step studies of seasonal ecology that can circumvent limitations and ambiguities.

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