How rising temperatures could alter species interactions, ecosystems

Jun 12, 2013
How rising temperatures could alter species interactions, ecosystems

A new paper by SFI External Professor Van Savage and collaborators at UCLA provides new details about how rising temperatures will alter the ways species interact – changes that biologists fear could destabilize entire ecosystems.

Savage's research team has developed a "biotraits database" that standardizes and organizes species data and has used it to examine how various biological traits of organisms respond to changes in environment. In particular, using new species interaction models based on their database, they have shown how changes in metabolism due to warmer temperatures affect the rates at which organisms eat, move, and sleep and have made predictions about how changes in those activities would affect the broader ecology.

In one example, the researchers examined how changes in species body velocity due to warming influence predator-prey interactions for both warm- and cold-blooded species and any expected that might arise between species.

"Models that assume all species respond to temperature in the same way will both miss the large diversity in and therefore miss the most important consequences that arise from differential and asymmetric responses to temperature among species," Savage says. The UCLA model allows for different species to respond differently, he says.

Read the paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology (May 21, 2013)

Explore further: New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do parasites upset food web theory?

Jun 11, 2013

Parasites comprise a large proportion of the diversity of species in every ecosystem. Despite this, they are rarely included in analyses or models of food webs. If parasites play different roles from other ...

Climate change may have little impact on tropical lizards

May 17, 2013

A new Dartmouth College study finds human-caused climate change may have little impact on many species of tropical lizards, contradicting a host of recent studies that predict their widespread extinction in a rapidly warming ...

Recommended for you

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

6 hours ago

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Zambia lifts ban on safari hunting

8 hours ago

Zambia has lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting because it has lost too much revenue, but lions and leopards will remain protected, the government said Wednesday.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

15 hours ago

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2013
What rising temperatures?