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Effects of directional environmental change on extinction dynamics in experimental microbial communities are predicted by a simple model


Clements, Christopher F; Collen, Ben; Blackburn, Tim M; Petchey, Owen L (2014). Effects of directional environmental change on extinction dynamics in experimental microbial communities are predicted by a simple model. Oikos, 123(2):141-150.

Abstract

Global temperatures are expected to rise between 1.1 and 6.4°C over the next 100 years, although the exact rate will depend on future greenhouse emissions, and will vary spatially. Temperature can alter an individual's metabolic rate, and consequently birth and death rates. In declining populations, these alterations may manifest as changes in the rate of that population's decline, and subsequently the timing of extinction events. Predicting such events could therefore be of considerable use. We use a small-scale experimental system to investigate how the rate of temperature change can alter a population's time to extinction, and whether it is possible to predict this event using a simple phenomenological model that incorporates information about population dynamics at a constant temperature, published scaling of metabolic rates, and temperature. In addition, we examine 1) the relative importance of the direct effects of temperature on metabolic rate, and the indirect effects (via temperature driven changes in body size), on predictive accuracy (defined as the proximity of the predicted date of extinction to the mean observed date of extinction), 2) the combinations of model parameters that maximise accuracy of predictions, and 3) whether substituting temperature change through time with mean temperature produces accurate predictions. We find that extinction occurs earlier in environments that warm faster, and this can be accurately predicted (R2 > 0.84). Increasing the number of parameters that were temperature-dependent increased the model's accuracy, as did scaling these temperature-dependent parameters with either the direct effects of temperature alone, or with the direct and indirect effects. Using mean temperature through time instead of actual temperature produces less accurate predictions of extinction. These results suggest that simple phenomenological models, incorporating metabolic theory, may be useful in understanding how environmental change can alter a population's rate of extinction.

Abstract

Global temperatures are expected to rise between 1.1 and 6.4°C over the next 100 years, although the exact rate will depend on future greenhouse emissions, and will vary spatially. Temperature can alter an individual's metabolic rate, and consequently birth and death rates. In declining populations, these alterations may manifest as changes in the rate of that population's decline, and subsequently the timing of extinction events. Predicting such events could therefore be of considerable use. We use a small-scale experimental system to investigate how the rate of temperature change can alter a population's time to extinction, and whether it is possible to predict this event using a simple phenomenological model that incorporates information about population dynamics at a constant temperature, published scaling of metabolic rates, and temperature. In addition, we examine 1) the relative importance of the direct effects of temperature on metabolic rate, and the indirect effects (via temperature driven changes in body size), on predictive accuracy (defined as the proximity of the predicted date of extinction to the mean observed date of extinction), 2) the combinations of model parameters that maximise accuracy of predictions, and 3) whether substituting temperature change through time with mean temperature produces accurate predictions. We find that extinction occurs earlier in environments that warm faster, and this can be accurately predicted (R2 > 0.84). Increasing the number of parameters that were temperature-dependent increased the model's accuracy, as did scaling these temperature-dependent parameters with either the direct effects of temperature alone, or with the direct and indirect effects. Using mean temperature through time instead of actual temperature produces less accurate predictions of extinction. These results suggest that simple phenomenological models, incorporating metabolic theory, may be useful in understanding how environmental change can alter a population's rate of extinction.

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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:2014
Deposited On:22 Jan 2014 12:14
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:17
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00689.x
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00689.x/abstract;jsessionid=88AA95C7FE707E5C8805946DC32FC48E.f02t02

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