Effects of Differential Habitat Warming on Complex Communities. Tunney, T. D.; McCann, K. S.; Lester, N. P.; and Shuter, B. J. 111(22):8077–8082.
Effects of Differential Habitat Warming on Complex Communities [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Significance] Organisms may adjust their behavior to stay cool as natural habitats differentially warm with rising air temperature. Undoubtedly, fundamental ecosystem properties will change in turn, but the impact of the dynamic thermal mosaic on food web interactions is not considered in traditional climate change research. To demonstrate differential warming effects on food webs, we use boreal lakes to show that the energy pathways leading to an apex predator shift, according to thermal preference, and the vertical pathway lengthened in warmer climate. Such a fundamental food web restructuring is expected to increase predator contaminant levels and alter community dynamics in ecosystems – a particular concern for conservation of boreal lakes, which house a significant portion of Earth's freshwater life. [Abstract] Food webs unfold across a mosaic of micro and macro habitats, with each habitat coupled by mobile consumers that behave in response to local environmental conditions. Despite this fundamental characteristic of nature, research on how climate change will affect whole ecosystems has overlooked (i) that climate warming will generally affect habitats differently and (ii) that mobile consumers may respond to this differential change in a manner that may fundamentally alter the energy pathways that sustain ecosystems. This reasoning suggests a powerful, but largely unexplored, avenue for studying the impacts of climate change on ecosystem functioning. Here, we use lake ecosystems to show that predictable behavioral adjustments to local temperature differentials govern a fundamental structural shift across 54 food webs. Data show that the trophic pathways from basal resources to a cold-adapted predator shift toward greater reliance on a cold-water refuge habitat, and food chain length increases, as air temperatures rise. Notably, cold-adapted predator behavior may substantially drive this decoupling effect across the climatic range in our study independent of warmer-adapted species responses (for example, changes in near-shore species abundance and predator absence). Such modifications reflect a flexible food web architecture that requires more attention from climate change research. The trophic pathway restructuring documented here is expected to alter biomass accumulation, through the regulation of energy fluxes to predators, and thus potentially threatens ecosystem sustainability in times of rapid environmental change.
@article{tunneyEffectsDifferentialHabitat2014,
  title = {Effects of Differential Habitat Warming on Complex Communities},
  author = {Tunney, Tyler D. and McCann, Kevin S. and Lester, Nigel P. and Shuter, Brian J.},
  date = {2014-06},
  journaltitle = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  volume = {111},
  pages = {8077--8082},
  issn = {1091-6490},
  doi = {10.1073/pnas.1319618111},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1319618111},
  abstract = {[Significance] 

Organisms may adjust their behavior to stay cool as natural habitats differentially warm with rising air temperature. Undoubtedly, fundamental ecosystem properties will change in turn, but the impact of the dynamic thermal mosaic on food web interactions is not considered in traditional climate change research. To demonstrate differential warming effects on food webs, we use boreal lakes to show that the energy pathways leading to an apex predator shift, according to thermal preference, and the vertical pathway lengthened in warmer climate. Such a fundamental food web restructuring is expected to increase predator contaminant levels and alter community dynamics in ecosystems -- a particular concern for conservation of boreal lakes, which house a significant portion of Earth's freshwater life.

 [Abstract] 

Food webs unfold across a mosaic of micro and macro habitats, with each habitat coupled by mobile consumers that behave in response to local environmental conditions. Despite this fundamental characteristic of nature, research on how climate change will affect whole ecosystems has overlooked (i) that climate warming will generally affect habitats differently and (ii) that mobile consumers may respond to this differential change in a manner that may fundamentally alter the energy pathways that sustain ecosystems. This reasoning suggests a powerful, but largely unexplored, avenue for studying the impacts of climate change on ecosystem functioning. Here, we use lake ecosystems to show that predictable behavioral adjustments to local temperature differentials govern a fundamental structural shift across 54 food webs. Data show that the trophic pathways from basal resources to a cold-adapted predator shift toward greater reliance on a cold-water refuge habitat, and food chain length increases, as air temperatures rise. Notably, cold-adapted predator behavior may substantially drive this decoupling effect across the climatic range in our study independent of warmer-adapted species responses (for example, changes in near-shore species abundance and predator absence). Such modifications reflect a flexible food web architecture that requires more attention from climate change research. The trophic pathway restructuring documented here is expected to alter biomass accumulation, through the regulation of energy fluxes to predators, and thus potentially threatens ecosystem sustainability in times of rapid environmental change.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13209298,climate-change,food-web,global-warming,habitat-suitability},
  number = {22}
}
Downloads: 0