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Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Oct;21(10):3586-94. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12932. Epub 2015 May 19.

The smell of change: warming affects species interactions mediated by chemical information.

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Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Département de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, H1X 2B2, Canada.
Unité Mixte de Recherche 5174 'Evolution et Diversité Biologique', Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de Toulouse - École Nationale de Formation Agronomique, BP 22687, 31326, Castanet-Tolosan, France.
Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, 370 05, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.
Biology Centre CAS, Institute of Entomology, Laboratory of Aquatic Insects and Relict Ecosystems, 370 05, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.


Knowledge of how temperature influences an organism's physiology and behaviour is of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the impacts of climate change on species' interactions. While the behaviour of many organisms is driven by chemical information on which they rely on to detect resources, conspecifics, natural enemies and competitors, the effects of temperature on infochemical-mediated interactions remain largely unexplored. Here, we experimentally show that temperature strongly influences the emission of infochemicals by ladybeetle larvae, which, in turn, modifies the oviposition behaviour of conspecific females. Temperature also directly affects female perception of infochemicals and their oviposition behaviour. Our results suggest that temperature-mediated effects on chemical communication can influence flows across system boundaries (e.g. immigration and emigration) and thus alter the dynamics and stability of ecological networks. We therefore argue that investigating the effects of temperature on chemical communication is a crucial step towards a better understanding of the functioning of ecological communities facing rapid environmental changes.


chemical communication; climate change; insects; metabolic theory of ecology; nontrophic interactions; temperature

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