Seasonal effects of climate warming on forest-floor arthropod communities
Climatic warming is predicted to reshape ecological communities on a global scale. The impacts of warming on community composition and diversity have been shown to vary with latitude, primarily as a result of differences in species’ thermal tolerances. However, it is unclear how warming will differ in effects on co-occurring species that are active at different periods of the year. We used the results of a large-scale experimental temperature manipulation in Duke Forest, NC, to examine the effects of simulated forest-floor warming on arthropod community structure. Using monthly community samplings over a two-year period, we measured species’ abundances and taxonomic diversity to assess the consequences of temperature increases.
We show that experimental warming has significant effects on arthropod community structure, and that these effects vary strongly with season and taxonomic group. Our results suggest that sensitivities of species to climate warming depend on their seasonal activity patterns.