Líffræðifélag Íslands
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2015

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E80

Thermal sensitivity and adaptive ability of freshwater macroinvertebrates from geothermally heated streams

Rebecca L Kordas, Eoin O'Gorman, Guy Woodward, and Samraat Pawar

Imperial College London

Kynnir / Presenter: Rebecca L Kordas

Tengiliður / Corresponding author: Rebecca L Kordas (r.kordas@imperial.ac.uk)

Global warming is now an undeniable reality: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has forecast an average 3-5°C increase in global surface temperatures by 2100, with even stronger increases predicted for Arctic areas. Shifts in species ranges, altered seasonality of life cycle events, and reduced body size are widely recognised as three “universal” responses to increasing temperature. However, there is considerable variation in the magnitude of these effects and our current understanding is still largely observational, whereas we need to move rapidly towards more predictive mechanistic frameworks based on first principles. This has not been possible previously because the underlying mechanisms remain unknown and to build this next generation of models, we require an understanding of how individual organisms respond to changing temperatures in natural systems. In addition, we also need to understand how individual physiological and behavioural responses modulate species interactions, as these are the glue that binds the food webs of natural ecosystems together. I will present preliminary results demonstrating interspecific variability in physiological thermal responses among freshwater macroinvertebrates. In addition, I will discuss whether these species have adapted to higher temperatures, using an invaluable ‘natural laboratory’ of geothermally heated streams in Hengill, Iceland.