Interactions between temperature and nutrients across levels of ecological organization
Cross, Wyatt F.
Hood, James M.
Benstead, Jonathan P.
Huryn, Alexander D.
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Temperature and nutrient availability play key roles in controlling the pathways and rates at which energy and materials move through ecosystems. These factors have also changed dramatically on Earth over the past century as human activities have intensified. Although significant effort has been devoted to understanding the role of temperature and nutrients in isolation, less is known about how these two factors interact to influence ecological processes. Recent advances in ecological stoichiometry and metabolic ecology provide a useful framework for making progress in this area, but conceptual synthesis and review are needed to help catalyze additional research. Here, we examine known and potential interactions between temperature and nutrients from a variety of physiological, community, and ecosystem perspectives. We first review patterns at the level of the individual, focusing on four traits â€“ growth, respiration, body size, and elemental content â€“ that should theoretically govern how temperature and nutrients interact to influence higher levels of biological organization. We next explore the interactive effects of temperature and nutrients on populations, communities, and food webs by synthesizing information related to community size spectra, biomass distributions, and elemental composition. We use metabolic theory to make predictions about how population-level secondary production should respond to interactions between temperature and resource supply, setting up qualitative predictions about the flows of energy and materials through metazoan food webs. Last, we examine how temperatureâ€“nutrient interactions influence processes at the whole-ecosystem level, focusing on apparent vs. intrinsic activation energies of ecosystem processes, how to represent temperatureâ€“nutrient interactions in ecosystem models, and patterns with respect to nutrient uptake and organic matter decomposition. We conclude that a better understanding of interactions between temperature and nutrients will be critical for developing realistic predictions about ecological responses to multiple, simultaneous drivers of global change, including climate warming and elevated nutrient supply.
Cross, Wyatt F., James M. Hood, Jonathan P. Benstead, Alexander D. Huryn, and Daniel Nelson. "Interactions between temperature and nutrients across levels of ecological organization." Global Change Biology 21, no. 3 (March 2015): 1025-1040. DOI:https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12809.