Selective effects of temperature on body mass depend on trophic interactions and network position [article]

Avril Weinbach, Korinna Allhoff, Elisa Thebault, Francois Massol, Nicolas Loeuille
2017 bioRxiv   pre-print
Body mass is a key trait constraining interspecific interactions in food webs through changes in metabolic requirements. Because climate warming affects metabolic rates, it creates direct selective effects on body mass. Many empirical studies suggest that body mass decreases under warming, although important exceptions have been noted. We first analyze the evolution of body mass in a simple consumer-resource model to provide conditions under which a body mass increase or decrease may be
more » ... . We then extend our model to a multi-trophic food web context that allows for the coevolution of body mass and of feeding preferences. We focus here on how the trophic position of a consumer influences its evolutionary response to warming under different scenarios for the temperature dependence of attack rates. We observe that body masses can remain constant or increase with temperature when attack rates are constant or increasing with temperature, while body mass reductions in response to warming are only expected when attack rates have a thermal optimum and populations are initially locally adapted. We also found that body masses at lower trophic levels vary less under warming than body masses at higher trophic levels, which may be explained by decreasing levels of stabilizing selection along food chains.
doi:10.1101/233742 fatcat:puwah4apknfipajhecwezukuni