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Understanding how changes in temperature affect interspecific competition is critical for predicting changes in ecological communities with global warming. Here, we develop a theoretical model that links interspecific differences in the temperature dependence of resource acquisition and growth to the outcome of pairwise competition in phytoplankton. We parameterised our model with these metabolic traits derived from six species of freshwater phytoplankton and tested its ability to predict the outcome of competition in all pairwise combinations of the species in a factorial experiment, manipulating temperature and nutrient availability. The model correctly predicted the outcome of competition in 72% of the pairwise experiments, with competitive advantage determined by difference in thermal sensitivity of growth rates of the two species. These results demonstrate that metabolic traits play a key role in determining how changes in temperature influence interspecific competition and lay the foundation for mechanistically predicting the effects of warming in complex, multi-species communities.
Bestion, E., García-Carreras, B., Schaum, C. E., Pawar, S., & Yvon-Durocher, G. (2018, May 1). Metabolic traits predict the effects of warming on phytoplankton competition. Ecology Letters. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12932