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Ecol Lett. 2014 Jul;17(7):785-93. doi: 10.1111/ele.12281. Epub 2014 Apr 22.

Towards a mechanistic understanding of temperature and enrichment effects on species interaction strength, omnivory and food-web structure.

Author information

1
Département de sciences biologiques, Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H1X2B2, Canada; Université de Toulouse - École Nationale de Formation Agronomique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5174 'Evolution et Diversité Biologique', Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BP 22687, Castanet-Tolosan 31326, France; Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice 370 05, Czech Republic.

Abstract

Revealing the links between species functional traits, interaction strength and food-web structure is of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the relationships between food-web diversity and stability in a rapidly changing world. However, little is known about the interactive effects of environmental perturbations on individual species, trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. Here, we combined modelling and laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of warming and enrichment on a terrestrial tritrophic system. We found that the food-web structure is highly variable and switches between exploitative competition and omnivory depending on the effects of temperature and enrichment on foraging behaviour and species interaction strength. Our model contributes to identifying the mechanisms that explain how environmental effects cascade through the food web and influence its topology. We conclude that considering environmental factors and flexible food-web structure is crucial to improve our ability to predict the impacts of global changes on ecosystem diversity and stability.

KEYWORDS:

Climate change; enrichment; food-web topology; intraguild predation; metabolic theory of ecology; nonlinear interaction strength; predator-prey interactions

PMID:
24751223
DOI:
10.1111/ele.12281
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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