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Thermal evolution ameliorates the long‐term plastic effects of warming, temperature fluctuations and heat waves on predator–prey interaction strength

Abstract : 1. How thermal evolution may affect trophic interactions and its implications for trophic system stability remains unstudied. To advance insights in how global warming shapes trophic interactions, we need to consider besides increases in mean temperatures, also daily thermal fluctuations (DTF) and heat waves (HW), and how their effects are modulated by thermal evolution. 2. Using a common-garden approach, we tested how each thermal factor affected predator metabolic rate and functional response parameters, and used these responses to predict long-term predator–prey interaction strength between larvae of the damselfly Ischnura elegans and the water flea Daphnia magna. Using high- and low-latitude predator populations with the latter being exposed to higher mean temperatures, higher DTF and more frequent HW, we assessed the potential impact of thermal evolution at the high latitude using a space-for-time substitution. 3. In line with thermal adaptation, growth rates were faster and handling times shorter in low-latitude compared to high-latitude larvae at 24°C while the opposite was true at 20°C. Warming weakened the long-term interaction strength, except for the high-latitude trophic system at DTF and HW where plastic responses therefore may not stabilize the high-latitude system. This extends the emerging insight that temperature variation may make ectotherms more vulnerable to warming. The contributions of metabolic rate, search rate and handling time in shaping thermal effects on interaction strength differed between latitudes. A key finding was that thermal evolution may further weaken the long-term interaction strength of the high-latitude trophic system under increases in mean temperatures, even at DTF and potentially also at HW. 4. Our results underscore the importance of daily thermal fluctuations and heat waves in shaping predator–prey interactions, and may suggest an overall stabilizing contribution of predator thermal evolution ameliorating thermal plastic effects on food web stability.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03318935
Contributor : Raymond Schiano <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 12:56:30 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 12:12:04 PM

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Ying-Jie Wang, Arnaud Sentis, Nedim Tüzün, Robby Stoks. Thermal evolution ameliorates the long‐term plastic effects of warming, temperature fluctuations and heat waves on predator–prey interaction strength. Functional Ecology, Wiley, 2021, 35 (7), pp.1538-1549. ⟨10.1111/1365-2435.13810⟩. ⟨hal-03318935⟩

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