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A bioenergetic framework for the temperature dependence of trophic interactions


Abstract

Changing temperature can substantially shift ecological communities by altering the strength and stability of trophic interactions. Because many ecological rates are constrained by temperature, new approaches are required to understand how simultaneous changes in multiple rates alter the relative performance of species and their trophic interactions. We develop an energetic approach to identify the relationship between biomass fluxes and standing biomass across trophic levels. Our approach links ecological rates and trophic dynamics to measure temperature-dependent changes to the strength of trophic interactions and determine how these changes alter food web stability. It accomplishes this by using biomass as a common energetic currency and isolating three temperature-dependent processes that are common to all consumer–resource interactions: biomass accumulation of the resource, resource consumption and consumer mortality. Using this framework, we clarify when and how temperature alters consumer to resource biomass ratios, equilibrium resilience, consumer variability, extinction risk and transient vs. equilibrium dynamics. Finally, we characterise key asymmetries in species responses to temperature that produce these distinct dynamic behaviours and identify when they are likely to emerge. Overall, our framework provides a mechanistic and more unified understanding of the temperature dependence of trophic dynamics in terms of ecological rates, biomass ratios and stability.

Abstract

Changing temperature can substantially shift ecological communities by altering the strength and stability of trophic interactions. Because many ecological rates are constrained by temperature, new approaches are required to understand how simultaneous changes in multiple rates alter the relative performance of species and their trophic interactions. We develop an energetic approach to identify the relationship between biomass fluxes and standing biomass across trophic levels. Our approach links ecological rates and trophic dynamics to measure temperature-dependent changes to the strength of trophic interactions and determine how these changes alter food web stability. It accomplishes this by using biomass as a common energetic currency and isolating three temperature-dependent processes that are common to all consumer–resource interactions: biomass accumulation of the resource, resource consumption and consumer mortality. Using this framework, we clarify when and how temperature alters consumer to resource biomass ratios, equilibrium resilience, consumer variability, extinction risk and transient vs. equilibrium dynamics. Finally, we characterise key asymmetries in species responses to temperature that produce these distinct dynamic behaviours and identify when they are likely to emerge. Overall, our framework provides a mechanistic and more unified understanding of the temperature dependence of trophic dynamics in terms of ecological rates, biomass ratios and stability.

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66 citations in Web of Science®
46 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biomass pyramid, climate change, food web, interaction strength, predator prey, stability, temperature, transient dynamics, trophic dynamics
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:04 Feb 2015 09:10
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:06
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1461-023X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12307

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