Behavioural thermoregulation is an impotant aspect in the thermal biology of endotherms and ectotherms. By altering behavioural posture or moving between thermally different microhabitats, animals modify the operative temperature they experience and thereby alter heat transfer rates with the environment.
Transient receptor potential ion channels (TRPV1 and TRPM8) are the mechanism by which reptiles sense their environment. The TRP genes are expressed throughout the body and permit the animals to contrast environmental and internal temperatures to initiate thermoregulatory behaviour.
To determine whether or not behavioural sequences represent thermoregulation requires comparison between the study animal and a control. Random distributions of body temperature of a hypothetical animal are often used as a control, and these distributions may be derived from physical models, or from calculations of transient heat transfer.
Boyles, J. G., Seebacher F., Smit, B., McKechnie, A. E. 2011. Adaptive thermoregulation in endotherms may alter responses to climate change. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51, 676-690.
Glanville, E. J., and Seebacher, F. 2010. Plasticity in body temperature and metabolic capacity sustain winter activity in a small endotherm (Rattus fuscipes). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 155, 383-391.
Seebacher, F. 2009. Responses to temperature variation: integration of thermoregulation and metabolism in vertebrates. Journal of Experimental Biology 212, 2885-2891.
Seebacher, F., Franklin, C. E. 2007. Redistribution of blood within the body is important for thermoregulation in an ectothermic vertebrate (Crocodylus porosus). Journal of Comparative Physiology B 177, 841-848.
Seebacher, F., Murray, S. A. 2007. Transient receptor potential ion channels control thermoregulatory behaviour in reptiles. PLoS ONE 2, e281.
Seebacher, F., and Franklin, C. E. 2005. Physiological mechanisms of thermoregulation in reptiles: A review. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 175, 533-541.
Seebacher, F. 2000. Heat transfer in a microvascular network: the effect of heart rate on heating and cooling in reptiles (Pogona barbata and Varanus varius). Journal of Theoretical Biology 203, 97-109.