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Temperature Affects Chemical Defense in a Mite-Beetle Predator-Prey System

Merkel, Christoph and Heethoff, Michael and Brückner, Adrian (2020) Temperature Affects Chemical Defense in a Mite-Beetle Predator-Prey System. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 46 (10). pp. 947-955. ISSN 0098-0331.

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Temperature influences all biochemical and biophysiological processes within an organism. By extension, it also affects those ecological interactions that are mediated by gland-produced chemical compounds, such as reservoir-based chemical defense. Herein, we investigate how environmental temperature affects the regeneration of defensive secretions and influences the efficacy of chemical defense in a model predator-prey system: the oribatid mite Archegozetes longisetosus and the predaceous rove beetle Stenus juno. Through a combination of chemical analyses, non-linear regression modeling and theoretical simulations we show that the amount of defensive secretion responded to temperature in a unimodal optimum curve: the regeneration rate followed a positive, linear relationship up to 35 °C, but rapidly broke down beyond this temperature (“tipping point” effect). Using functional response simulations, there is an initially positive dampening effect on the predation rate when regeneration is optimal, but at higher temperatures chemical defense does not counteract the previously described effects of elevated predatory pressure. In a larger context, our results demonstrate the need to integrate relevant environmental factors in predator-prey modeling approaches.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Heethoff, Michael0000-0003-3453-4871
Brückner, Adrian0000-0002-9184-8562
Additional Information:© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Received 29 June 2020; Revised 31 July 2020; Accepted 24 August 2020; Published 02 September 2020. We want to thank Roy A. Norton for language editing and proofreading. AB was funded by the German Nation Academic Foundation and is a Simons Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF). The study was supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG; HE 4593/5–1). Author Contributions: AB initial idea; AB, MH designed research; CM performed experiments and chemical analysis; CM, AB modeled and statistically analyzed the data; AB wrote the first draft with input from CM; AB revised the manuscript; MH, CM commented on the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Studienstiftung des deutschen VolkesUNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)HE 4593/5–1
Subject Keywords:Trophic interactions; Temperature dependence; Eco-physiology; Oribatid mites; Archegozetes longisetosus
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200908-073329477
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Merkel, C., Heethoff, M. & Brückner, A. Temperature Affects Chemical Defense in a Mite-Beetle Predator-Prey System. J Chem Ecol 46, 947–955 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105261
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 17:01
Last Modified:21 Oct 2020 17:24

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