Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Ecology and Evolution. 2023;13:e10665.


Open access.


The effects of warming on ecological communities emerge from a range of potentially asymmetric impacts on individual physiology and development. Understanding these responses, however, is limited by our ability to connect mechanisms or emergent patterns across the many processes that drive variation in demography. Further complicating this understanding is the gain or loss of predators to many communities, which may interact with changes in temperature to drive community change. Here we conducted a factorial warming and predation experiment to test generalized predictions about responses to warming. We used microcosms with a range of protists, rotifers, and a gastrotrich, with and without the predator Actinosphaerium, to assess changes in diversity, body size, function, and composition in response to warming. We find that community respiration and predator:prey biovolume ratios peak at intermediate temperatures, while species richness declined with temperature. We also found that overall biomass increased with species richness, driven by the effect of temperature on richness. There was little evidence of an interaction between predation and temperature change, likely because the predator was mostly limited to the intermediate temperatures. Overall, our results suggest that general predictions about community change are still challenging to make but may benefit by considering multiple dimensions of community patterns in an integrated way.

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