Friday, September 25, 2009

Global warming and shifts in food web strucutre

ResearchBlogging.orgPredicting the effects of global warming on biological systems is of critical importance for informing proactive policy decisions. Most research so far has been on trying to predict shifts in species distributions and changes in interactions within local habitats. But what many of these studies assume is that the basic biological processes and requirements of the individual species will not change -that is their biology is fixed and they simply need to find the place that best suits them. Not so, say Mary O'Connor and colleagues, in a just-released study in PLoS Biology.

O'Connor and colleagues experimentally warmed marine microcosms and tested two alternative hypotheses on food web structure: 1) that productivity increases with warming; and 2) warming increases metabolic rates, thus changing consumer-autotroph (i.e., primary producers) interactions. What they found was that warming indeed altered consumer-autotroph interactions. Warming increased base metabolic rates of consumers, as well as primary production, and the net effect was that food webs shifted towards increasing consumer control (i.e., top-down control).

What this research means is that global warming may alter food web interactions by increasing resource needs of organisms as their metabolic rates increase. This may increase the stress on communities and change diversity patterns as increased needs may shift competitive hierarchies or affect autotroph's ability to withstand consumer effects.

O'Connor, M., Piehler, M., Leech, D., Anton, A., & Bruno, J. (2009). Warming and Resource Availability Shift Food Web Structure and Metabolism PLoS Biology, 7 (8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000178

29 comments:

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Global warming is critical issue for the whole world. It will effects whole system of human life. I agree with you by this post.

Miss mia said...
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Cyprus Fishing said...

There are a lot of talks about global worming and bilions $ are spent to solve this problem... but wait?! is human able to stop the nature... I think NO. We are able to teach each other to save the planet earth!

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I think you do not need a study for that. All you need to do is observe different attitudes in warmer and calder regions amoung different species.

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There have been several profound paradigm shifts in ..... from sources of food and other necessities, with a distinct class structure .... Grazing animal digestion feeds the soil food web that does the humification. ...To fix global warming, do we only have to reduce soil ...

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Sunburn Treatment said...

Ok, sure global warming is occurring but i believe that it is a periodic event. Soon enough, we may undergo a global cooling.

Marc Cadotte said...

@Sunburn treatment, despite personal beliefs, which can be very well correct, science advances by collecting the necessary data to test hypotheses and propositions. The Earth has cooled in the past, but is that compatible with increases in greenhouse gas emissions and why did previous climate changes occur? It is all about cause, regardless of our beliefs.

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I think you do not need a study for that. All you need to do is observe different attitudes in warmer and calder regions amoung different species.

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