February 24 2019

12:00 Hershey Hall 158

Emily Meineke
Harvard University Herbaria

Herbivory Through the Ages: Novel Methods Reveal How Global Change Affects Plant-herbivore Interactions


Global change will induce numerous changes in community structure and ecosystem function. Most, if not all, changes at higher levels of biological organization emerge from temperature-driven changes in individual physiology and demographics. Therefore, quantitatively integrating physiological, population, and community ecology provides an excellent framework for predicting how global change will impact species interactions, community structure, and ecosystem function. In this talk, I apply this approach to predicting plant-insect interactions under rapid climate warming. Rising temperatures stimulate insect metabolic demands and reduce insect nitrogen assimilation efficiencies, leading to temperature-induced nitrogen limitation of insect herbivores. This pattern is robust across multiple taxonomic groups, and causes host plant-dependent impacts of climate change on insect performance. Incorporating such temperature-by-nutrient interactions into population models significantly alters our expectations of population stability and species coexistence under increased temperatures. Finally, I demonstrate how warming alters the role of predators in a community and stress the importance of integrating behavioral ecology into predictions of species interactions. This integrative framework provides a strong baseline from which to assess the impacts of other aspects of climate change, e.g. drought, on evolution, species interactions, population dynamics, and terrestrial ecosystem function.





















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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