The importance of species interactions in eco-evolutionary community dynamics under climate change

Anna Åkesson, Alva Curtsdotter, Anna Eklöf, Bo Ebenman, Jon Norberg, György Barabás

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Received Date: 29th April 20

Eco-evolutionary dynamics are essential in shaping the biological response of communities to ongoing climate change. Here we develop a spatially explicit eco-evolutionary framework which integrates evolution, dispersal, and species interactions within and between trophic levels. This allows us to analyze how these processes interact to shape species- and community-level dynamics under climate change. Additionally, we incorporate the heretofore unexplored feature that species interactions themselves might change due to increasing temperatures and affect the impact of climate change on ecological communities. The new modeling framework captures previously reported ecological responses to climate change, and also reveals two new key results. First, interactions between trophic levels as well as temperature-dependent competition within a trophic level mitigate the negative impact of climate change on global biodiversity, emphasizing the importance of understanding biotic interactions in shaping climate change impact. Second, using a trait-based perspective, we found a strong negative relationship between the within-community variation in preferred temperatures and the capacity to respond to climate change. Communities resulting from different ecological interaction structures form distinct clusters along this relationship, but varying species' abilities to disperse and adapt to new temperatures leave it unaffected.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature