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Climate change in size-structured ecosystems


Brose, Ulrich; Dunne, Jennifer A; Montoya, Jose M; Petchey, Owen L; Schneider, Florian D; Jacob, Ute (2012). Climate change in size-structured ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 367(1605):2903-2912.

Abstract

One important aspect of climate change is the increase in average temperature, which will not only have direct physiological effects on all species but also indirectly modifies abundances, interaction strengths, food-web topologies, community stability and functioning. In this theme issue, we highlight a novel pathway through which warming indirectly affects ecological communities: by changing their size structure (i.e. the body-size distributions). Warming can shift these distributions towards dominance of small- over large-bodied species. The conceptual, theoretical and empirical research described in this issue, in sum, suggests that effects of temperature may be dominated by changes in size structure, with relatively weak direct effects. For example, temperature effects via size structure have implications for top-down and bottom-up control in ecosystems and may ultimately yield novel communities. Moreover, scaling up effects of temperature and body size from physiology to the levels of populations, communities and ecosystems may provide a crucially important mechanistic approach for forecasting future consequences of global warming.

Abstract

One important aspect of climate change is the increase in average temperature, which will not only have direct physiological effects on all species but also indirectly modifies abundances, interaction strengths, food-web topologies, community stability and functioning. In this theme issue, we highlight a novel pathway through which warming indirectly affects ecological communities: by changing their size structure (i.e. the body-size distributions). Warming can shift these distributions towards dominance of small- over large-bodied species. The conceptual, theoretical and empirical research described in this issue, in sum, suggests that effects of temperature may be dominated by changes in size structure, with relatively weak direct effects. For example, temperature effects via size structure have implications for top-down and bottom-up control in ecosystems and may ultimately yield novel communities. Moreover, scaling up effects of temperature and body size from physiology to the levels of populations, communities and ecosystems may provide a crucially important mechanistic approach for forecasting future consequences of global warming.

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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)
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:04 Feb 2013 09:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:21
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8436
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0232
PubMed ID:23007078

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