Linking physiological rates and community ecology: effects of ocean temperature on dispersal and species interactions Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • O'Connor, Mary Isabel
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Environment and Ecology
Abstract
  • Our ability to predict and manage ecological change in the face of climate warming requires an understanding of the influence of climate on critical demographic and community-level processes. In spite of a rich history of research on ecological processes and the patterns they create, responses to climate change have been interpreted as species-specific, such as shifts in geographic ranges and the timing of seasonal life cycle events. However, recently described general and predictable responses of organisms to non-lethal changes in temperature may provide an important mechanistic link between local climate conditions and ecological processes. I have applied the metabolic theory of ecology to dispersal and food web dynamics to test the effect of temperature on complex, community-structuring processes. I used statistical and theoretical models to determine the generality of the effect of temperature on larval development and dispersal, and to consider consequences for biogeographic patterns, population connectivity and conservation. Using experiments, I tested the effect of temperature on herbivore-plant interaction strength, food web structure and production. Results show that general effects of temperature on fundamental metabolic components are consistent with community level responses to changing temperature, and these effects may provide a mechanistic explanation for broad biogeographic patterns and marine ecosystem response to climate change.
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  • In Copyright
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  • Bruno, John
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