Oecologia

, Volume 181, Issue 2, pp 519–532

Pathogens trigger top-down climate forcing on ecosystem dynamics

  • Eric Edeline
  • Andreas Groth
  • Bernard Cazelles
  • David Claessen
  • Ian J. Winfield
  • Jan Ohlberger
  • L. Asbjørn Vøllestad
  • Nils C. Stenseth
  • Michael Ghil
Community ecology – original research

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-016-3575-8

Cite this article as:
Edeline, E., Groth, A., Cazelles, B. et al. Oecologia (2016) 181: 519. doi:10.1007/s00442-016-3575-8

Abstract

Evaluating the effects of climate variation on ecosystems is of paramount importance for our ability to forecast and mitigate the consequences of global change. However, the ways in which complex food webs respond to climate variations remain poorly understood. Here, we use long-term time series to investigate the effects of temperature variation on the intraguild-predation (IGP) system of Windermere (UK), a lake where pike (Esox lucius, top predator) feed on small-sized perch (Perca fluviatilis) but compete with large-sized perch for the same food sources. Spectral analyses of time series reveal that pike recruitment dynamics are temperature controlled. In 1976, expansion of a size-truncating perch pathogen into the lake severely impacted large perch and favoured pike as the IGP-dominant species. This pathogen-induced regime shift to a pike-dominated IGP apparently triggered a temperature-controlled trophic cascade passing through pike down to dissolved nutrients. In simple food chains, warming is predicted to strengthen top–down control by accelerating metabolic rates in ectothermic consumers, while pathogens of top consumers are predicted to dampen this top–down control. In contrast, the local IGP structure in Windermere made warming and pathogens synergistic in their top–down effects on ecosystem functioning. More generally, our results point to top predators as major mediators of community response to global change, and show that size-selective agents (e.g. pathogens, fishers or hunters) may change the topological architecture of food webs and alter whole ecosystem sensitivity to climate variation.

Keywords

Body size Parasites Population structure Singular spectrum analysis Wavelet analysis 

Supplementary material

442_2016_3575_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (453 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 452 kb)
442_2016_3575_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (175 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (JPEG 174 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (JPEG 2754 kb)
442_2016_3575_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (1.4 mb)
Electronic Supplemental MaterialOne single file containing: supplemental materials and methods with references, supplemental figures S1 to S3, supplemental figure legends (PDF 1448 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Natural Environment Research Council
    Norwegian Research Council
      Agence Nationale de la Recherche
        Réseau de Recherche sur le Développement Soutenable
          Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress
            National Science Foundation

              Copyright information

              © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

              Authors and Affiliations

              • Eric Edeline
                • 1
              • Andreas Groth
                • 2
                • 3
              • Bernard Cazelles
                • 4
                • 5
              • David Claessen
                • 2
                • 5
              • Ian J. Winfield
                • 6
              • Jan Ohlberger
                • 7
                • 8
              • L. Asbjørn Vøllestad
                • 7
              • Nils C. Stenseth
                • 7
              • Michael Ghil
                • 2
                • 3
                • 9
              1. 1.Institut d’Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement-Paris (iEES-Paris)Sorbonne Universités/UPMC Université Paris 06/CNRS/INRA/IRD/Paris Diderot Université Paris 07/UPECParisFrance
              2. 2.Environmental Research and Teaching Institute (CERES-ERTI)Paris Cedex 05France
              3. 3.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
              4. 4.IRD-UPMCBondyFrance
              5. 5.Eco-Evolutionary MathematicsParis Cedex 05France
              6. 6.Lake Ecosystems Group, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment CentreBailrigg, LancasterUK
              7. 7.Department of Biosciences, Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES)University of OsloOsloNorway
              8. 8.School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
              9. 9.Laboratoire de Météorologie DynamiqueCNRS and IPSLParis Cedex 05France

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