Behavioral responses to warming

Dufferin Pond at the  Koffler Scientific Reserve

Dufferin Pond at the Koffler Scientific Reserve

Freshly molted  Anax  larvae

Freshly molted Anax larvae

The direct influence of warming on organismal physiology has received a great deal of attention, especially based on mounting evidence of rapidly increasing temperatures caused by climate change. Unfortunately, many studies fail to incorporate correlated temperature-induced behavioral changes into their predictions of how species will be affected by future climate warming. Specifically, we know little of the impacts of rising temperatures on individual behavior, and how those behavioral changes may affect species interactions. Foraging behaviors are of particular importance because they contribute to shaping interactions within communities. Theoretical and empirical work have shown that components of the functional response are not only highly influenced by temperature, but are also highly variable between species. Feeding rate is expected to increase with warming because animals with higher metabolic rates require more food to satisfy increased energetic demands. Additionally, higher temperatures should theoretically increase activity level, ultimately increasing encounter rates between predators and prey and lead to higher predation rates. Therefore, understanding the effects of temperature on activity and other behaviors may provide insights into how the strength of predator-prey interactions will be affected by climate change and the consequences of this for community structure. In this study, we examined the degree to which behavioral responses to warming varied among a suite of co-occurring dragonfly species and then determined whether differential behavioral responses accurately predicted the outcome of species interactions at warmer temperatures.