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Usefulness and limitations of thermal performance curves in predicting ectotherm development under climatic variability


Khelifa, Rassim; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U; Roy, Jeannine; Rohner, Patrick T; Mahdjoub, Hayat (2019). Usefulness and limitations of thermal performance curves in predicting ectotherm development under climatic variability. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(12):1901-1912.

Abstract

Thermal performance curves (TPCs) have been estimated in multiple ectotherm species to understand their thermal plasticity and adaptation and to predict the effect of global warming. However, TPCs are typically assessed under constant temperature regimes, so their reliability for predicting thermal responses in the wild where temperature fluctuates diurnally and seasonally remains poorly documented. Here, we use distant latitudinal populations of five species of sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) from the temperate region (Europe, North Africa, North America) to compare estimates derived from constant TPCs with observed development rate under fluctuating temperatures in laboratory and field conditions. TPCs changed across gradients in that flies originating from higher latitudes showed accelerated development at higher temperatures, an adaptive response. TPCs were then used to predict development rates observed under fluctuating temperatures; these predictions were relatively accurate in the laboratory but not the field. Interestingly, the precision of TPC predictions depended not only on the resolution of temperature data, with daily and overall temperature summing performing better than hourly temperature summing, but also on the frequency of temperatures falling below the estimated critical minimum temperature. Hourly temperature resolution most strongly underestimated actual development rates, because flies apparently either did not stop growing when temperatures dropped below this threshold, or they sped up their growth when the temperature rose again, thus most severely reflecting this error. We conclude that when flies do not encounter cold temperatures, TPC predictions based on constant temperatures can accurately reflect performance under fluctuating temperatures if adequately adjusted for nonlinearities, but when encountering cold temperatures, this method is more error-prone. Our study emphasizes the importance of the resolution of temperature data and cold temperatures in shaping thermal reaction norms.

Abstract

Thermal performance curves (TPCs) have been estimated in multiple ectotherm species to understand their thermal plasticity and adaptation and to predict the effect of global warming. However, TPCs are typically assessed under constant temperature regimes, so their reliability for predicting thermal responses in the wild where temperature fluctuates diurnally and seasonally remains poorly documented. Here, we use distant latitudinal populations of five species of sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) from the temperate region (Europe, North Africa, North America) to compare estimates derived from constant TPCs with observed development rate under fluctuating temperatures in laboratory and field conditions. TPCs changed across gradients in that flies originating from higher latitudes showed accelerated development at higher temperatures, an adaptive response. TPCs were then used to predict development rates observed under fluctuating temperatures; these predictions were relatively accurate in the laboratory but not the field. Interestingly, the precision of TPC predictions depended not only on the resolution of temperature data, with daily and overall temperature summing performing better than hourly temperature summing, but also on the frequency of temperatures falling below the estimated critical minimum temperature. Hourly temperature resolution most strongly underestimated actual development rates, because flies apparently either did not stop growing when temperatures dropped below this threshold, or they sped up their growth when the temperature rose again, thus most severely reflecting this error. We conclude that when flies do not encounter cold temperatures, TPC predictions based on constant temperatures can accurately reflect performance under fluctuating temperatures if adequately adjusted for nonlinearities, but when encountering cold temperatures, this method is more error-prone. Our study emphasizes the importance of the resolution of temperature data and cold temperatures in shaping thermal reaction norms.

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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:Animal Science and Zoology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2019
Deposited On:14 Feb 2020 14:11
Last Modified:14 Feb 2020 14:11
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0021-8790
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13077
PubMed ID:31365760
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2ZHP2_175028
  • : Project TitleThe effects of global warming and urbanization on the distribution of dragonflies and damselflies

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