Consequences of altered temperature regimes for emerging freshwater invertebrates
We used highly realistic temperature treatments based on down-scaled global circulation models for 1990–2000 (control) and 2100 (warming treatment) to experimentally assess the impacts of altered temperature regimes on the emerging adults of aquatic insect communities. Experiments were run for 6 weeks and emerging adults of insects were identified and measured for length. There were clear responses to the warming treatment, but responses were taxa- and gender-specific. Males of mayfly Ulmerophlebia pipinna Suter 1986 (Leptophlebiidae) emerged faster under 2100 temperatures. This resulted in a change in the sex ratio that could compromise populations. Mean body size of some insects decreased under warming conditions, which is in agreement with the general hypothesis of reduced body size in response to climate change. However, the degree to which organism size was affected by temperature varied within and between taxa. These changes show the potential for changed temperature regimes to impact ecological systems at individual, population, and community levels. Changes in body size and species composition of emerging insects are likely to impact different levels in both the aquatic and terrestrial communities, for example through disruption of interactions between emerging insects and riparian predators which rely on those resources.
KeywordsClimate change Aquatic Body size Down-scaled climate models Emergence Warming
This work was carried out with financial support from the Australian Government (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF FW11-05). The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information and advice contained herein. Thompson and Beringer were funded by Australian Research Council Future Fellowships (RT: FT110100957; JB: FT110100602). The Monash University Faculty of Science workshop built the temperature control facilities and flumes; in particular we acknowledge the support and expertise of Ian Stewart and Ben Fries.
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