Temperature Modifies Consumer-Resource Interaction Strength Through Its Effects on Biological Rates and Body Mass

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Authors Azenor Bideault, Michel Loreau, Dominique Gravel
Journal/Conference Name Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Paper Category , ,
Paper Abstract Temperature is the most significant environmental gradient at the global scale, impacting the distributions of species and their ecological interactions. It is now established that temperature affects several biological rates and body mass, and can, in turn, alter interaction strength. Latitudinal variation in the strength of interactions has been observed for trophic and competitive interactions and many studies support that biotic interactions are more intense at low latitudes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying the temperature dependence of trophic regulation, the effect of consumers on their preys, remain unclear. The aim of our study is to get better insights on the effects of temperature on trophic regulation. We used a consumer-resource model and considered that organisms' biological rates present a unimodal thermal response and that body mass decreases with temperature. We compared three measures of interaction strength per capita, per population and net interaction strength. Our results demonstrate that the effect of temperature on interaction strength is contingent upon which species' biological rates are temperature dependent. When all biological rates are temperature dependent, the thermal response of interaction strength is hump-shaped following the scaling of search rate, whilst it is monotonically decreasing when only mortality rates vary with temperature. Finally, we show that temperature can indirectly impact trophic interaction strength through the temperature-size rule. A decrease in organisms' body size due to temperature induces a decrease in per capita and per population interaction strength and tend to decrease net interaction strength, depending on which trophic level follows the temperature-size rule. Our analysis gives an overview of how temperature, through various effects, may impact different measures of interaction strength.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R

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