Consequences of altered temperature regimes for emerging freshwater invertebrates

Paula Sardina, Jason Beringer, Mike Grace, Ross THOMPSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We used highly realistic temperature treatments based on down-scaled global circulation models for 1990–2000 (control) and 2100 (warming treatment) to experimentally assess the impacts of altered temperature regimes on the emerging adults of aquatic insect communities. Experiments were run for 6 weeks and emerging adults of insects were identified and measured for length. There were clear responses to the warming treatment, but responses were taxa- and gender-specific. Males of mayfly Ulmerophlebia pipinna Suter 1986 (Leptophlebiidae) emerged faster under 2100 temperatures. This resulted in a change in the sex ratio that could compromise populations. Mean body size of some insects decreased under warming conditions, which is in agreement with the general hypothesis of reduced body size in response to climate change. However, the degree to which organism size was affected by temperature varied within and between taxa. These changes show the potential for changed temperature regimes to impact ecological systems at individual, population, and community levels. Changes in body size and species composition of emerging insects are likely to impact different levels in both the aquatic and terrestrial communities, for example through disruption of interactions between emerging insects and riparian predators which rely on those resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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