Abstract #1

A better understanding of how environmental change will affect species interactions would significantly aid efforts to scale up predictions of near-future responses to global change from individuals to ecosystems. To address this need, we used meta-analysis to quantify the individual and combined effects of ocean acidification (OA) and warming on consumption rates of predators and herbivores in marine ecosystems. Although the primary studies demonstrated that these environmental variables can have direct effects on consumers, our analyses highlight high variability in consumption rates in response to OA and warming. This variability likely reflects differences in local adaptation among species, as well as important methodological differences. For example, our results suggest that exposure of consumers to OA reduces consumption rates on average, yet consumption rates actually increase when both consumers and their resource(s) are concurrently exposed to the same conditions. We hypothesize that this disparity is due to increased vulnerability of prey or resource(s) in conditions of OA that offset declines in consumption. This hypothesis is supported by an analysis demonstrating clear declines in prey survival in studies that exposed only prey to future OA conditions. Our results illustrate how simultaneous OA and warming produce complex outcomes when species interact. Researchers should further explore other potential sources of variation in response, as well as the prey-driven component of any changes in consumption and the potential for interactive effects of OA and warming.

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