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A bioenergetic framework for the temperature dependence of trophic interactions


Gilbert, B and Tunney, TD and McCann, KS and DeLong, JP and Vasseur, DA and Savage, V and Shurin, JB and Dell, AI and Barton, BT and Harley, CDG and Kharouba, HM and Kratina, P and Blanchard, JL and Clements, C and Winder, M and Greig, HS and O'Connor, MI, A bioenergetic framework for the temperature dependence of trophic interactions, Ecology Letters, 17 pp. 902-914. ISSN 1461-0248 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/ele.12307


Changing temperature can substantially shift ecological communities by altering the strength and stability of trophic interactions. Because many ecological rates are constrained by temperature, new approaches are required to understand how simultaneous changes in multiple rates alter the relative performance of species and their trophic interactions. We develop an energetic approach to identify the relationship between biomass fluxes and standing biomass across trophic levels. Our approach links ecological rates and trophic dynamics to measure temperature-dependent changes to the strength of trophic interactions and determine how these changes alter food web stability. It accomplishes this by using biomass as a common energetic currency and isolating three temperature-dependent processes that are common to all consumer–resource interactions: biomass accumulation of the resource, resource consumption and consumer mortality. Using this framework, we clarify when and how temperature alters consumer to resource biomass ratios, equilibrium resilience, consumer variability, extinction risk and transient vs. equilibrium dynamics. Finally, we characterise key asymmetries in species responses to temperature that produce these distinct dynamic behaviours and identify when they are likely to emerge. Overall, our framework provides a mechanistic and more unified understanding of the temperature dependence of trophic dynamics in terms of ecological rates, biomass ratios and stability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biomass pyramid, climate change, food web, interaction strength, predator prey, stability, temperature, transient dynamics, trophic dynamics
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Blanchard, JL (Professor Julia Blanchard)
ID Code:100474
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:191
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2015-05-18
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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