Most ectothermal animals have variable body temperatures. Because physiological rates are temperature sensitive, an ectotherm's behavioural and ecological performance - even its fitness - can be influenced by body temperature. As a result, the thermal sensitivity of ectotherm performance is relevant to diverse issues in physiology, ecology and evolution. This review formalizes an emerging framework for investigating the evolution of thermal sensitivity, outlines some functional and genetical constraints on that evolution, and summarizes comparative and experimental advances in this field.
Copyright © 1989. Published by Elsevier Ltd.