Ecosystems include many types of creatures, and each responds to a change in environmental temperature through changes in physiological and metabolic rates. Though the number of species in most ecosystems makes predicting the consequences of environmental change seem hopelessly complex, in fact some responses to warming may be predictable based on fundamental metabolic processes, the thermal history of that species, or its body size. Using mathematical models and data on how temperature affects the performance of species of different sizes and histories, we will model how warming affects species linked to other species through their feeding relationships. This information will provide a basic framework for predicting how environmental warming will affect ecosystems, which is critical for national and global efforts to understand how atmospheric changes affect biodiversity and ecosystem function.
More information about this project.