It has been recently demonstrated that the greater sensitivity of aquatic consumers to temperature compared to producers can amplify top-down control by increasing interaction strengths. Such an increase in interaction strength by warming can dramatically reduce ecosystem stability.
On the other hand, several ecological mechanisms (e.g., non-prey diversity, inducible antipredator defences, omnivory) have been proposed to enhance stability and counteract the negative effects of stress on ecosystems.
This project will simultaneously manipulate environmental temperature across gradients of stabilizing ecological factors that have potential to mitigate the impact of climate change. Focusing on multitrophic interactions that are threatened or augmented by climate warming rather than a limited focus on responses of individual species can yield more insight into system stability and will help to guide effective management strategies.
Policy Impact of Research:
Pervasive changes to ecosystems due to human activities remain a major source of uncertainty in predicting structure and dynamics of ecological communities.
Understanding how climate warming affects stability of aquatic ecosystems is one of the prominent tasks of contemporary ecology.