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Azenor Bideault

Université de Sherbrooke
Temperature modifies food web structure through its effects on organisms's biological rates and body mass

Azenor Bideault, Eva Delmas, Arnaud Sentis, Michel Loreau, Dominique Gravel

Temperature is a major driver of biodiversity change. However, although theory predicts that ecological interactions are temperature-dependent, it remains unclear how temperature will affect community structure and stability. The effects of rising temperatures permeate at many levels of biological organization from individuals, to populations and communities. Temperature has an impact on individuals life-history and foraging traits. It also induces a decrease in body-sizes of many diverse taxa from bacteria to ectothermic vertebrates. These different effects of temperature in turn impact communities. We used a dynamic food web model and considered that organisms biological rates are temperature dependent and that body size decreases with warming to investigate how temperature impact community dynamics. We found that temperature can strongly impact communities and network structure by triggering extinctions and strengthening trophic interactions. This study thus integrates two major effects of temperature to better explain how communities respond to warming.