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Thermal plasticity and evolution shape predator-prey interactions differently in clear and turbid water


Wang, Ying-Jie; Tüzün, Nedim; Sentis, Arnaud; Stoks, Robby (2022), Thermal plasticity and evolution shape predator-prey interactions differently in clear and turbid water, Dryad, Dataset,


Warming and eutrophication negatively affect freshwater ecosystems by modifying trophic interactions and increasing water turbidity. We need to consider their joint effects on predator-prey interactions, and how these depend on the thermal evolution of both predator and prey.

We quantified how 4°C warming and algae-induced turbidity (that integrates turbidity per se and increased food for zooplankton prey) affect functional response parameters and prey population parameters in a common-garden experiment. We did so for all combinations of high- and low-latitude predator (damselfly larvae) and prey (water fleas) populations to assess the potential impact of thermal evolution of predators and/or prey at a high latitude under warming using a space-for-time substitution. We then modelled effects on the system stability (i.e. tendency to oscillate) under different warming, turbidity and evolutionary scenarios.

Warming and turbidity had little effect on the functional response parameters of high-latitude predators. In contrast, warming and turbidity reduced the handling times of low-latitude predators. Moreover, warming increased the search rates of low-latitude predators in clear water but instead decreased these in turbid water.

Warming increased stability (i.e. prevented oscillations) in turbid water (except for the “high-latitude predator & high-latitude prey” system), mainly by decreasing the prey’s carrying capacity and partly also by decreasing search rates, while it did not affect stability in clear water. Algae-induced turbidity generally decreased stability, mainly by increasing the prey’s carrying capacity and partly also by increasing search rates. This resembles findings that nutrient enrichment can reduce the stability of trophic systems. The expected stability of the high-latitude trophic system under warming was dependent on the turbidity level: our results suggest that thermal plasticity tends to destabilize the high-latitude trophic system under warming in clear water but not in turbid water, and that thermal evolution of the predator will stabilize the high-latitude system under warming in turbid water but less so in clear water.

The extent to which thermal plasticity and evolution shape trophic system stability under warming may strongly differ between clear and turbid water bodies, with their contributions having a more stabilizing role in turbid water.


The methods for data collection and processing are described in the Materials and methods and the appendix of the manuscript.

Usage Notes

FR.csv contains data of functional response of the predatory damselfy larvae feeding on their daphnid prey.

r.csv contains data used for estimating the intrinsic population growth rate of the prey.

K.csv contains data used for estimating the carrying capacity of the prey.

README_file.txt contains information for the headers of the attached csv files.


Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: G.0524.17N

KU Leuven, Award: C16/17/002

Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: G.0956.19N