Interactive effects of ocean acidification and rising sea temperatures alter predation rate and predator selectivity in reef fish communities

Ferrari, Maud C.O., Munday, Philip L., Rummer, Jodie L., McCormick, Mark I., Corkill, Katherine, Watson, Sue-Ann, Allan, Bridie J.M., Meekan, Mark G., and Chivers, Douglas P. (2015) Interactive effects of ocean acidification and rising sea temperatures alter predation rate and predator selectivity in reef fish communities. Global Change Biology, 21. pp. 1848-1855.

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Ocean warming and acidification are serious threats to marine life. While each stressor alone has been studied in detail, their combined effects on the outcome of ecological interactions are poorly understood. We measured predation rates and predator selectivity of two closely related species of damselfish exposed to a predatory dottyback. We found temperature and CO2 interacted synergistically on overall predation rate, but antagonistically on predator selectivity. Notably, elevated CO2 or temperature alone reversed predator selectivity, but the interaction between the two stressors cancelled selectivity. Routine metabolic rates of the two prey showed strong species differences in tolerance to CO2 and not temperature, but these differences did not correlate with recorded mortality. This highlights the difficulty of linking species-level physiological tolerance to resulting ecological outcomes. This study is the first to document both synergistic and antagonistic effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on a crucial ecological process like predator–prey dynamics.

Item ID: 39936
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: climate change; elevated temperature; foraging rate; global change; predator selectivity; predator–prey interaction; routine metabolic rate
Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Australian Research Council
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 01:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 30%
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 @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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