Modeling the impacts of global warming on predation and biotic resistance: mosquitoes, damselflies and avian malaria in Hawaii
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Hobbelen, P.H.F., Samuel, M.D., Foote, D. et al. Theor Ecol (2013) 6: 31. doi:10.1007/s12080-011-0154-9
- 560 Downloads
Biotic resistance from native predators can play an important role in regulating or limiting exotic prey. We investigate how global warming potentially alters the strength and spatial extent of these predator–prey interactions in aquatic insect ecosystems. As a simple model system, we use rock pools in streams of rainforests of Hawaii, which contain the beautiful Hawaiian damselfly Megalagrion calliphya as predator and the invasive southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus as prey. This abundant mosquito is the major vector of avian malaria transmission to native forest birds. We use mathematical modeling to evaluate the potential impacts of damselfly predation and temperature on mosquito population dynamics. We model this predator–prey system along an elevational gradient (749-1952 m elevation) and assess the effect of 1°C and 2°C climate warming scenarios as well as the effects of El Niño and La Niña oscillations, on predator–prey dynamics. Our results indicate that the strength of biotic resistance of native predators on invasive prey may decrease with increasing temperature because demographic rates of predator and prey are differentially affected by temperature. Future warming could therefore increase the abundance of invasive species by releasing them from predation pressure. If the invasive species is a disease vector, these shifts could increase the impact of disease on both humans and wildlife.