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Warming drives higher rates of prey consumption and increases rates of intraguild predation

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Warming due to climate change is expected to alter species interactions. These interactions are shaped by components of individual behavior, particularly foraging behaviors. However, few studies consider species’ behavioral responses to warming to predict how species interactions will be affected by warming. We chose two complementary approaches to examine how climate warming may affect the behavior and interactions of aquatic intraguild predators. First, we measured behavioral responses to warming in six larval dragonfly species, expecting that feeding rate and activity would increase with temperature. Secondly, we conducted intraguild predation (IGP) trials with three species to understand how temperature affects IGP, and if species’ behavioral responses to warming are indicative of the outcome of IGP interactions. Warming increased feeding rates by 42% on average across species but had no effect on activity rate. The magnitude of change in feeding rate was positively correlated with the maximum temperatures species experience across their ranges. Lastly, warming increased rates of IGP twofold, however, species’ behavioral responses alone were not predictive of their susceptibility to become IG prey of other larvae at warmer temperatures. Our results provide evidence that IGP interactions may be greatly affected by future increases in temperature; however, activity responses to warming alone are weak predictors of the outcomes of these interactions. Future studies should consider other species’ traits when forecasting the effects of climate change on species interactions.

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We would like to thank R. Mitchell and J. Moon for their research assistance, and the Koffler Scientific Reserve and S. Schneider for research infrastructure support. We are also thankful for the thoughtful suggestions made by two anonymous reviewers.


Funding to DNF was provided by Zimmerman and Weis Graduate Scholarship by the Department of EEB at University of Toronto. Funding to SJM was provided by an NSERC Discovery Grant (# 435614), CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund, and Ontario Leaders Opportunity Fund.

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DNF and SJM conceived of the idea and methodology for this project. DNF collected and analyzed the data. DNF and SJM wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dachin N. Frances.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants nor vertebrate animals.

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Communicated by Aaron J Wirsing.

This paper documents how intraguild predation may be affected by climate warming and that species’ thermal adaptations may be important in determining their susceptibility.

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Frances, D.N., McCauley, S.J. Warming drives higher rates of prey consumption and increases rates of intraguild predation. Oecologia 187, 585–596 (2018).

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