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Thermal acclimation increases the stability of a predator-prey interaction in warmer environments.

Sohlström, Esra H and Archer, Louise C and Gallo, Bruno and Jochum, Malte and Kordas, Rebecca L and Rall, Björn C and Rosenbaum, Benjamin and O'Gorman, Eoin J (2021) 'Thermal acclimation increases the stability of a predator-prey interaction in warmer environments.' Global Change Biology, 27 (16). pp. 3765-3778. ISSN 1354-1013

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Global warming over the next century is likely to alter the energy demands of consumers and thus the strengths of their interactions with their resources. The subsequent cascading effects on population biomasses could have profound effects on food web stability. One key mechanism by which organisms can cope with a changing environment is phenotypic plasticity, such as acclimation to warmer conditions through reversible changes in their physiology. Here, we measured metabolic rates and functional responses in laboratory experiments for a widespread predator-prey pair of freshwater invertebrates, sampled from across a natural stream temperature gradient in Iceland (4-18℃). This enabled us to parameterize a Rosenzweig-MacArthur population dynamical model to study the effect of thermal acclimation on the persistence of the predator-prey pairs in response to warming. Acclimation to higher temperatures either had neutral effects or reduced the thermal sensitivity of both metabolic and feeding rates for the predator, increasing its energetic efficiency. This resulted in greater stability of population dynamics, as acclimation to higher temperatures increased the biomass of both predator and prey populations with warming. These findings indicate that phenotypic plasticity can act as a buffer against the impacts of environmental warming. As a consequence, predator-prey interactions between ectotherms may be less sensitive to future warming than previously expected, but this requires further investigation across a broader range of interacting species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, functional response, interaction strength, metabolic rate, phenotypic plasticity, population stability, thermal adaptation, trophic interaction
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2021 09:52
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 10:40

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