Monday, August 2, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
301-302, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Oswald J. Schmitz
Andrew P. Beckerman
Andrew P. Beckerman
Climate change impacts on plant and animal species are already evident as shifts in their geographic distribution and altered phenology and life-history. These alterations stand to disrupt and reassemble species linkages that determine ecosystem structure and vital functions and services. But, predicting exactly what these changes will be is limited by uncertainty about how mechanisms of direct and indirect species interactions will change. This organized oral session will offer insight, by way of strategic examples in presentations, how to develop a new research program aimed at reducing uncertainties about species interactions in food webs to obtain a complete understanding of climate change effects on ecosystems. Accordingly, this symposium will draw on leading experts in food web biology in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems to examine whether, what, and how we can predict the consequence of climate change on functioning of foodwebs.
Climate change is the single most important large-scale environmental perturbation facing the planet. It will impact interactions among species below and above ground and at the interface of soils, land, water and air. Central to all modern research on food webs are traits – from the common but not simple consideration of body size to the more complex integration of thermal tolerance, foraging mode and antipredator behavior that are routinely involved in individual decisions that determine the nature and strength of food web interactions. This integration of individual scale biology with network level models and data is a most promising interface for linking food webs to climate change and will serve as a focus of the symposium. This is because species traits influence both lethal and sub-lethal effects in food webs and thus represent a scale of biological organization that holds considerable promise to make reliable predictions about climate effects on food webs.
This symposium will bring together researchers working in soil, freshwater, marine and terrestrial systems. It will showcase work focusing on small, experimentally-well defined networks of interactions as well as large networks of more than 100 sampled species. It will further showcase the variety of methodologies that can be applied to gain an integrated perspective of climate effects on food webs with implications for ecosystem function and services.