Feeling the heat: the effect of acute temperature changes on predator–prey interactions in coral reef fish

Allan, Bridie J.M., Domenici, Paolo, Munday, Philip L., and McCormick, Mark I. (2015) Feeling the heat: the effect of acute temperature changes on predator–prey interactions in coral reef fish. Conservation Physiology, 3 (1). cov011. pp. 1-8.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (456kB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cov011


Recent studies demonstrate that the elevated temperatures predicted to occur by the end of the century can affect the physiological performance and behaviour of larval and juvenile fishes; however, little is known of the effect of these temperatures on ecological processes, such as predator–prey interactions. Here, we show that exposure to elevated temperatures significantly affected the predator–prey interactions of a pair of common reef fish, the planktivorous damselfish (Pomacentrus wardi) and the piscivorous dottyback (Pseudochromis fuscus). When predators exposed to elevated temperatures interacted with prey exposed in a similar manner, maximal attack speeds increased. This effect coupled with decreasing prey escape speeds and escape distances led to increased predation rates. Prey exposed to elevated temperatures also had decreased reaction distances and increased apparent looming threshold, suggesting that their sensory performance was affected. This occurred despite the increase in maximal attack speeds, which in other species has been shown to increase reaction distances. These results suggest that the escape performance of prey is sensitive to short-term increases in ambient temperature. As marine environments become more thermally variable in the future, our results demonstrate that some predators may become more successful, suggesting that there will be strong selection for the maintenance of maximal escape performance in prey. In the present era of rapid climate change, understanding how changes to individual performance influence the relationships between predators and their prey will be increasingly important in predicting the effects of climate change within ecosystems.

Item ID: 38113
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2051-1434
Keywords: climate change, coral reef fish, locomotory performance, predator-prey interaction
Additional Information:

© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery grant DP120101993
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 23:06
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 1124
Last 12 Months: 10
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page