Climate Change and Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics in Food Webs

Jordi Moya-Laraño, Oriol Verdeny-Vilalta, Jennifer Rowntree, Nereida Melguizo-Ruiz, Marta Montserrat, Paola Laiolo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The analysis of the causes of selection is in essence a problem in ecology. Wade and Kalisz 1990Past evolution determines the genetically determined available phenotypes in populations which affect ecological dynamics in communities, shaping in turn the selective pressures that further model phenotypes. Because an increase in temperature increases metabolic rates and encounter rates, climate change may have profound eco-evolutionary effects, possibly affecting the future persistence and functioning of food webs. We introduce a semi-spatially explicit individual-based model (IBM) framework to study functional eco-evolutionary dynamics in food webs. Each species embedded in the web includes 13 genetically determined and multidimensionally variable traits (the G matrix), 4 of which are flexible physiological and behavioural (personality) traits that respond to temperature. An increase in temperature and stronger correlation among traits leads to stronger trophic cascades but higher stochasticity, with higher probability of extinction for some trophic levels. A combination of the abiotic (temperature) and biotic (predators' presence/absence) matrix of selective agents (the O matrix) generates differential selection for activation energies for metabolic rates and several instances of correlational selection (selection in one trait changes with the levels of another), suggesting how global warming might favour certain trait combinations. Our results and the future prospects of this IBM approach open new avenues for climate change research. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-80
    Number of pages79
    JournalAdvances in Ecological Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Biotic and Ecological interactions
    • Climate change
    • Eco-evolutionary dynamics
    • Food Web Engineering
    • G and O matrices
    • Indirect Genetic Effects
    • Individual-Based Models
    • Latitudinal diversity gradients
    • Metabolic Theory of Ecology
    • Pleiotropic effects


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