Can temperature-dependent predation rates regulate range expansion potential of tropical vagrant fishes?

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Journal Article
Marine Biology, 2019, 166 (6)
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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. The effect of temperature on predator–prey dynamics has the potential to be an important factor regulating ecological interactions and is becoming increasingly common due to climate-change-driven range shifts and species introductions. Here, we use mesocosm experiments to evaluate the thermal sensitivity of burst swimming (a proxy for prey escape ability) and mortality rates of cohorts of introduced tropical and resident temperate marine fishes in the presence of a local temperate predator. Increasing temperature (17–21–25 °C) resulted in a reduction in predation rates (by Hypoplectrodes maccullochi, family Serranidae) on the tropical prey species (Abudefduf vaigiensis, family Pomacentridae) which were more warm adapted, whereas predation rates on the temperate prey species (Atypichthys strigatus, family Kyphosidae) remained unchanged over the 17–21 °C range (25 °C not tested). These changes were linearly related to predator–prey burst swimming ratios, which decreased with increasing temperature for the tropical prey but remained largely unchanged for the temperate prey. By demonstrating the temperature sensitivity of predator–prey interactions, our work highlights the importance of linking physiology with ecology to understand the consequences of climate-driven range shifts and species introductions.
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