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Climate Change and the Reshaping and Rewiring of Food Webs

Salão Nobre, ISA | 12h30 - 13h30

Understanding the effects of climate change on food webs can be immensely challenging. Climate change involves multiple climatic parameters, affects both species and their interactions, and may differ in its effects around the world. In this seminar, I demonstrate how we've been able to deal with these challenges, using the aquatic invertebrate food webs withing bromeliad plants as a sentinel system. This research shows that reductions in rainfall in Costa Rica will lead to the reshaping of food webs, as drought tolerances of key species are exceeded, and a surprising rewiring of interactions. Increases in temperature amplify these effects. A globally distributed experiment with bromeliad invertebrate food webs further shows that the functional effects of rainfall change are variable between sites. However, in many sites increasing temporal clustering of rainfall will result in top-heavy food webs.