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  1. Abstract

    Climate-mediated changes in thermal stress can destabilize animal populations and promote extinction risk. However, risk assessments often focus on changes in mean temperatures and thus ignore the role of temporal variability or structure. Using Earth System Model projections, we show that significant regional differences in the statistical distribution of temperature will emerge over time and give rise to shifts in the mean, variability and persistence of thermal stress. Integrating these trends into mathematical models that simulate the dynamical and cumulative effects of thermal stress on the performance of 38 globally distributed ectotherm species revealed complex regional changes in population stability over the twenty-first century, with temperate species facing higher risk. Yet despite their idiosyncratic effects on stability, projected temperatures universally increased extinction risk. Overall, these results show that the effects of climate change may be more extensive than previously predicted on the basis of the statistical relationship between biological performance and average temperature.

  2. Abstract

    Understanding the effects of climate-mediated environmental variation on the distribution of organisms is critically important in an era of global change. We used wavelet analysis to quantify the spatiotemporal (co)variation in daily water temperature for predicting the distribution of cryptic refugia across 16 intertidal sites that were characterized as ‘no’, ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ upwelling and spanned 2000 km of the European Atlantic Coast. Sites experiencing weak upwelling exhibited high synchrony in temperature but low levels of co-variability at monthly to weekly timescales, whereas the opposite was true for sites experiencing strong upwelling. This suggests upwelling generates temporal thermal refugia that can promote organismal performance by both supplying colder water that mitigates thermal stress during hot Summer months and ensuring high levels of fine-scale variation in temperature that reduce the duration of thermal extremes. Additionally, pairwise correlograms based on the Pearson-product moment correlation coefficient and wavelet coherence revealed scale dependent trends in temperature fluctuations across space, with a rapid decay in strong upwelling sites at monthly and weekly timescales. This suggests upwelling also generates spatial thermal refugia that can ‘rescue’ populations from unfavorable conditions at local and regional scales. Overall, this study highlights the importance of identifying cryptic spatiotemporal refugia thatmore »emerge from fine-scale environmental variation to map potential patterns of organismal performance in a rapidly changing world.

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  3. Climate-mediated changes in the spatiotemporal distribution of thermal stress can destabilize animal populations and promote extinction risk. Using quantile, spectral, and wavelet analyses of temperature projections from the latest generation of earth system models, we show that significant regional differences are expected to arise in the way that temperatures will increase over time. When integrated into empirically-parameterized mathematical models that simulate the dynamical and cumulative effects of thermal stress on the performance of 38 global ectotherm species, the projected spatiotemporal changes in temperature fluctuations are expected to give rise to complex regional changes in population abundance and stability over the course of the 21st century. However, despite their idiosyncratic effects on stability, projected temperatures universally increase extinction risk. These results show that population changes under future climate conditions may be more extensive and complex than the current literature suggests based on the statistical relationship between biological performance and average temperature.
  4. Although the effects of species diversity on food web stability have long been recognized, relatively little is known about the influence of intraspecific diversity. Empirical work has found that intraspecific diversity can increase community resilience and resistance, but few theoretical studies have attempted to use modeling approaches to determine how intraspecific diversity will affect food web stability. To begin to address this knowledge gap, we added intraspecific diversity to May’s classic random food web model. We found that, like species diversity, intraspecific diversity decreased stability. These effects on stability were not simply attributable to changes in interaction strengths, suggesting that intraspecific diversity can have its own independent effects on stability. Its effect depends on the relationship between inter- and intra-genotype interactions; when competition within genotypes was stronger than among them, food webs were generally more stable than when the converse was true. Overall, our model suggests that determining the direction and the magnitude of intraspecific diversity’s effects on stability in natural systems will require more empirical information about how its inclusion alters patterns of interaction strength and food web topology.
  5. Abstract

    Clark et al. (2019) sought to extend the Loreau–Hector partitioning scheme by showing how to estimate selection and complementarity effects from an incomplete sample of species. We demonstrate that their approach suffers from serious conceptual and mathematical errors. Instead of finding unbiased estimators for a finite population, they inserted ad hoc correction factors into unbiased parameter estimators for an infinite population without any mathematical justification in order to force the sample estimators of an infinite population to converge to the true finite population parameter values as sample sizenapproached population sizeN. In doing so, they confused the unbiasedness of a sample estimator with its equivalence to the true population parameter value when.

    Additionally, we show that their estimators of complementarity, selection and the net biodiversity effect are incorrect. We then derive the correct unbiased estimators but caution that, contrary to what Clark et al. claim, these quantities will not approximate the corresponding population parameters without significant repeated random sampling, something that would likely be unfeasible in most if not all biodiversity experiments.

    Clark et al. also state that their method can be used to compare distinct experiments characterized by different species and diversity levels, or extrapolate from biodiversity experiments to natural systems.more »This is incorrect because relative yields are not a property of individual species like monoculture yields but an emergent and specific feature of an experimental community. As such, two experimental communities, even when overlapping significantly in species, are incommensurable for the purpose of predicting relative yields. In other words, different experimental communities are not equivalent to different samples taken from the same statistical population.

    Finally, Clark et al. incorrectly claim that both the original Loreau–Hector partitioning scheme and their extension work for any baseline despite the fact that recent research has shown that a nonlinear relationship between monoculture density and ecosystem functioning will likely inflate the net biodiversity effect in plant systems, and will always lead to spurious measurements of complementarity and selection.

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  6. Griffen, Blaine D. (Ed.)
    Ocean acidification (OA) represents a serious challenge to marine ecosystems. Laboratory studies addressing OA indicate broadly negative effects for marine organisms, particularly those relying on calcification processes. Growing evidence also suggests OA combined with other environmental stressors may be even more deleterious. Scaling these laboratory studies to ecological performance in the field, where environmental heterogeneity may mediate responses, is a critical next step toward understanding OA impacts on natural communities. We leveraged an upwelling-driven pH mosaic along the California Current System to deconstruct the relative influences of pH, ocean temperature, and food availability on seasonal growth, condition and shell thickness of the ecologically dominant intertidal mussel Mytilus californianus. In 2011 and 2012, ecological performance of adult mussels from local and commonly sourced populations was measured at 8 rocky intertidal sites between central Oregon and southern California. Sites coincided with a large-scale network of intertidal pH sensors, allowing comparisons among pH and other environmental stressors. Adult California mussel growth and size varied latitudinally among sites and inter-annually, and mean shell thickness index and shell weight growth were reduced with low pH. Surprisingly, shell length growth and the ratio of tissue to shell weight were enhanced, not diminished as expected, by lowmore »pH. In contrast, and as expected, shell weight growth and shell thickness were both diminished by low pH, consistent with the idea that OA exposure can compromise shell-dependent defenses against predators or wave forces. We also found that adult mussel shell weight growth and relative tissue mass were negatively associated with increased pH variability. Including local pH conditions with previously documented influences of ocean temperature, food availability, aerial exposure, and origin site enhanced the explanatory power of models describing observed performance differences. Responses of local mussel populations differed from those of a common source population suggesting mussel performance partially depended on genetic or persistent phenotypic differences. In light of prior research showing deleterious effects of low pH on larval mussels, our results suggest a life history transition leading to greater resilience in at least some performance metrics to ocean acidification by adult California mussels. Our data also demonstrate “hot” (more extreme) and “cold” (less extreme) spots in both mussel responses and environmental conditions, a pattern that may enable mitigation approaches in response to future changes in climate.« less
  7. Abstract

    Although stability is relatively well understood in macro‐organisms, much less is known about its drivers in host–microbial systems where processes operating at multiple levels of biological organisation jointly regulate the microbiome.

    We conducted an experiment to examine the microbiome stability of three Caribbean corals (Acropora cervicornis,Pseudodiploria strigosaandPorites astreoides) by placing them in aquaria and exposing them to a pulse perturbation consisting of a large dose of broad‐spectrum antibiotics before transplanting them into the field.

    We found that coral hosts harboured persistent, species‐specific microbiomes. Stability was generally high but variable across coral species, withA. cervicornismicrobiomes displaying the lowest community turnover in both the non‐perturbed and the perturbed field transplants. Interestingly, the microbiome ofP. astreoideswas stable in the non‐perturbed field transplants, but unstable in the perturbed field transplants.

    A mathematical model of host–microbial dynamics helped resolve this paradox by showing that when microbiome regulation is driven by host sanctioning, both resistance and resilience to invasion are low and can lead to instability despite the high direct costs bourne by corals. Conversely, when microbiome regulation is mainly associated with microbial processes, both resistance and resilience to invasion are high and promote stability at no direct cost to corals. We suggest that corals that are mainlymore »regulated by microbial processes can be likened to ‘glass cannons’ because the high stability they exhibit in the field is due to their microbiome's potent suppression of invasive microbes. However, these corals are susceptible to destabilisation when exposed to perturbations that target the vulnerable members of their microbiomes who are responsible for mounting such powerful attacks against invasive microbes. The differential patterns of stability exhibited byP. astreoidesacross perturbed and non‐perturbed field transplants suggest it is a ‘glass cannon’ whose microbiome is regulated by microbial processes, whereasA. cervicornis’ consistent patterns of stability suggest that its microbiome is mainly regulated by host‐level processes.

    Our results show that understanding how processes that operate at multiple levels of biological organisation interact to regulate microbiomes is critical for predicting the effects of environmental perturbations on host–microbial systems.

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  8. Abstract

    Although it is well established that the microbial communities inhabiting corals perform key functions that promote the health and persistence of their hosts, little is known about their spatial structure and temporal stability. We examined the natural variability of microbial communities associated with six Caribbean coral species from three genera at four reef sites over one year. We identified differences in microbial community composition between coral genera and species that persisted across space and time, suggesting that local host identity likely plays a dominant role in structuring the microbiome. However, we found that microbial community dissimilarity increased with geographical distance, which indicates that regional processes such as dispersal limitation and spatiotemporal environmental heterogeneity also influence microbial community composition. In addition, network analysis revealed that the strength of host identity varied across coral host genera, with species from the genusAcroporahaving the most influence over their microbial community. Overall, our results demonstrate that despite high levels of microbial diversity, coral species are characterized by signature microbiomes that are stable in both space and time.

  9. Abstract

    Understanding spatiotemporal variation in environmental conditions is important to determine how climate change will impact ecological communities. The spatial and temporal autocorrelation of temperature can have strong impacts on community structure and persistence by increasing the duration and the magnitude of unfavorable conditions in sink populations and disrupting spatial rescue effects by synchronizing spatially segregated populations. Although increases in spatial and temporal autocorrelation of temperature have been documented in historical data, little is known about how climate change will impact these trends. We examined daily air temperature data from 21 General Circulation Models under the business-as-usual carbon emission scenario to quantify patterns of spatial and temporal autocorrelation between 1871 and 2099. Although both spatial and temporal autocorrelation increased over time, there was significant regional variation in the temporal autocorrelation trends. Additionally, we found a consistent breakpoint in the relationship between spatial autocorrelation and time around the year 2030, indicating an acceleration in the rate of increase of the spatial autocorrelation over the second half of the 21stcentury. Overall, our results suggest that ecological populations might experience elevated extinction risk under climate change because increased spatial and temporal autocorrelation of temperature is expected to erode both spatial and temporal refugia.