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Front. Ecol. Evol. | doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00045

Temperature modifies consumer-resource interaction strength through its effects on biological rates and body mass

 Azenor Bideault1*,  Michel Loreau2 and Dominique Gravel3
  • 1Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
  • 2Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, France
  • 3Integrative Ecology Lab, University of Sherbrooke, Canada

Temperature is the most significant environmental gradient at the global
scale, impacting the distributions of species and their ecological
interactions. It is now established that temperature affects several
biological rates and body mass, and can, in turn, alter interaction strength.
Latitudinal variation in the strength of interactions has been observed for
trophic and competitive interactions and many studies support that biotic
interactions are more intense at low latitudes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms
underlying the temperature dependence of trophic regulation, the effect of
consumers on their preys, remain unclear. The aim of our study is to get
better insights on the effects of temperature on trophic regulation. We used a
consumer-resource model and considered that organisms' biological rates
present a unimodal thermal response and that body mass decreases with
temperature. We compared three measures of interaction strength: per capita,
per population and net interaction strength. Our results demonstrate that the
effect of temperature on interaction strength is contingent upon which
species’ biological rates are temperature dependent. When all biological rates
are temperature dependent, the thermal response of interaction strength is
hump-shaped following the scaling of search rate, whilst it is monotonically
decreasing when only mortality rates vary with temperature. Finally, we show
that temperature can indirectly impact trophic interaction strength through
the temperature-size rule. A decrease in organisms' body size due to
temperature induces a decrease in per capita and per population interaction
strength and tend to decrease net interaction strength, depending on which
trophic level follows the temperature-size rule. Our analysis gives an
overview of how temperature, through various effects, may impact different measures of interaction strength.

Keywords: consumer-resource, interaction strength, temperature, metabolic theory, Body mass, temperature-size rule

Received: 31 Aug 2018; Accepted: 06 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Angelica L. Gonzalez, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Camden, United States

Reviewed by:

Matthew M. Osmond, University of California, Davis, United States
Celia C. Symons, University of California, Santa Cruz, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Bideault, Loreau and Gravel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Azenor Bideault, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada, azenor.bideault@usherbrooke.ca