Crossing regimes of temperature dependence in animal movement.
A pressing challenge in ecology is to understand the effects of changing global temperatures on food web structure and dynamics. The stability of these complex ecological networks largely depends on how predator-prey interactions may respond to temperature changes. Because predators and prey rely on their velocities to catch food or avoid being eaten, understanding how temperatures may affect animal movement is central to this quest. Despite our efforts, we still lack a mechanistic understanding of how the effect of temperature on metabolic processes scales up to animal movement and beyond. Here, we merge a biomechanical approach, the Metabolic Theory of Ecology and empirical data to show that animal movement displays multiple regimes of temperature dependence. We also show that crossing these regimes has important consequences for population dynamics and stability, which depend on the parameters controlling predator-prey interactions. We argue that this dependence upon interaction parameters may help explain why experimental work on the temperature dependence of interaction strengths has so far yielded conflicting results. More importantly, these changes in the temperature dependence of animal movement can have consequences that go well beyond ecological interactions and affect, for example, animal communication, mating, sensory detection, and any behavioral modality dependent on the movement of limbs. Finally, by not taking into account the changes in temperature dependence reported here we might not be able to properly forecast the impact of global warming on ecological processes and propose appropriate mitigation action when needed.
Gibert, JP; Chelini, M-C; Rosenthal, MF; DeLong, JP
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