Tag Archives: species associations

Could Rising Temperatures Drastically Shift Species Communities?

Image Credit: Christa Rohrbach, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Image Cropped

Modelling temperature-driven changes in species associations across freshwater communities (2021) Perrin et al., Global Change Biology, https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15888

The Crux

Species interact in many complex ways within an ecosystem. One species may prey on another, which can keep that prey species at a low density. Two species might compete for resources, keeping each other’s populations in check. These interactions are part and parcel of any ecosystem. But what happens when the climate changes in that ecosystem? If one species does better under warmer conditions, perhaps that could lead to that species completely wiping out a prey species, or even a competitor?

You’d think that monitoring this would be easy, given the extensive environmental data and species occurrence data we’re able to come up with in the digital age. Yet the problem is that when a species population drops as the climate changes, it’s very hard to tell whether that’s a direct result of the climate itself, or whether that species is being negatively affected by another species which has benefited from the change. That’s what we wanted to try and figure out.

Read more