Theoretical predictions for how temperature affects the dynamics of interacting herbivores and plants

O'Connor, Mary I., Gilbert, Benjamin and Brown, Christopher J. (2011) Theoretical predictions for how temperature affects the dynamics of interacting herbivores and plants. American Naturalist, 178 5: 626-638. doi:10.1086/662171

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Author O'Connor, Mary I.
Gilbert, Benjamin
Brown, Christopher J.
Title Theoretical predictions for how temperature affects the dynamics of interacting herbivores and plants
Journal name American Naturalist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-0147
1537-5323
Publication date 2011-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/662171
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 178
Issue 5
Start page 626
End page 638
Total pages 13
Place of publication Chicago, IL, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Concern about climate change has spurred experimental tests of how warming affects species’ abundance and performance. As this body of research grows, interpretation and extrapolation to other species and systems have been limited by a lack of theory. To address the need for theory for how warming affects species interactions, we used consumer-prey models and the metabolic theory of ecology to develop quantitative predictions for how systematic differences between the temperature dependence of heterotrophic and autotrophic population growth lead to temperature-dependent herbivory. We found that herbivore and plant abundances change with temperature in proportion to the ratio of autotrophic to heterotrophic metabolic temperature dependences. This result is consistent across five different formulations of consumer-prey models and over varying resource supply rates. Two models predict that temperature-dependent herbivory causes primary producer abundance to be independent of temperature. This finding contradicts simpler extensions of metabolic theory to abundance that ignore trophic interactions, and is consistent with patterns in terrestrial ecosystems. When applied to experimental data, the model explained 77% and 66% of the variation in phytoplankton and zooplankton abundances, respectively. We suggest that metabolic theory provides a foundation for understanding the effects of temperature change on multitrophic ecological communities.
Keyword Consumer-resource models
Herbivore
Primary production
Metabolic Theory
Temperature
Mesocosm
Plankton
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
 
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