The simultaneous consideration, in this book, of small-scale mechanisms and large-scale patterns has shown that, in the main, a relatively limited suite of cellular and molecular level mechanisms has given rise to a broad array of individual-level responses, which, nonetheless, show detectable and coherent patterns of taxonomic and environmental variation. In Chapter 1 we demonstrated that much of the taxonomic variation is partitioned at levels above the species in the genealogical hierarchy. In the following chapters, we drew attention to coherent, though sometimes weak, large-scale spatial variation in traits, including metabolic rate (Chapter 3), water loss rate (Chapter 4) and thermal tolerances (Chapter 5). In our view, one of the most biologically significant results emerging from the large-scale perspective is that, at several spatial scales, there appears to be a general decoupling of upper and lower lethal temperature limits.
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