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Forecasting fine-scale changes in the food-web structure of coastal marine communities under climate change
Hattab, T.; Leprieur, F.; Lasram, F.B.R.; Gravel, D.; Le Loc'h, F.; Albouy, C. (2016). Forecasting fine-scale changes in the food-web structure of coastal marine communities under climate change. Ecography 39(12): 1227-1237. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecog.01937
In: Ecography. Munksgaard International: Copenhagen. ISSN 0906-7590; e-ISSN 1600-0587, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hattab, T.
  • Leprieur, F.
  • Lasram, F.B.R.
  • Gravel, D.
  • Le Loc'h, F.
  • Albouy, C.

Abstract
    Climate change is inducing deep modifications in local communities worldwide as a consequence of individualistic species range shifts. Understanding how complex interaction networks will be reorganized under climate change represents a major challenge in the fields of ecology and biogeography. However, forecasting the potential effects of climate change on local communities, and more particularly on food-web structure, requires the consideration of highly structuring processes, such as trophic interactions. A major breakthrough is therefore expected by combining predictive models integrating habitat selection processes, the physiological limits of marine species and their trophic interactions. In this study, we forecasted the potential impacts of climate change on the local food-web structure of the highly threatened Gulf of Gabes ecosystem located in the south of the Mediterranean Sea. We coupled the climatic envelope and habitat models to an allometric niche food web model, hence taking into account the different processes acting at regional (climate) and local scales (habitat selection and trophic interactions). Our projections under the A2 climate change scenario showed that future food webs would be composed of smaller species with fewer links, resulting in a decrease of connectance, generality, vulnerability and mean trophic level of communities and an increase of the average path length, which may have large consequences on ecosystem functioning. The unified framework presented here, by connecting food-web ecology, biogeography and seascape ecology, allows the exploration of spatial aspects of interspecific interactions under climate change and improves our current understanding of climate change impacts on local marine food webs.

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