Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Caleb Cooper - Tougaloo College
Co-Author(s): Carter L. Wolff, and Dr. Brandon T. Barton
Climate warming may cause animals to behaviorally thermoregulate and consequently alter interactions between species. In addition, climate warming can directly affect consumer-resource interactions and indirectly affect plant-pollinator interactions. For example, increasing temperature may force predators to abandon area thermoregulations of high prey abundance if it becomes thermally stressful, creating predator-free areas that may benefit prey species. We tested the hypothesis that climate warming can indirectly influence plant-pollinator systems through direct effects on a pollinator predator. Previous work showed that spiders can use temperature gradients to avoid heat stress, using the top of plants in cool weather but moving lower during hot periods. Thus, we predicted that high temperatures might indirectly benefit plants by causing spiders to move downward and allowing insects to access and pollinate flowers. To test this prediction, we conducted transects in a prairie community to determine if temperature affects the presence of spiders and pollinators on flowers. In addition, we used video cameras to observe individual flowers with and without spiders in a paired designed to determine if the presence of a predator influences the visitation patterns of pollinators to a flower. This would suggest that climate change directly effects the green lynx spider because the spider depends on the temperature to go up and down the flower. The plant is indirectly affected because it depends on the pollinator visiting which is affected by the spider either being on top of the flower or not.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Mississippi State University Research Experience for Undergraduates, and NSF
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Brandon Barton, email@example.com
Role: I conducted the entire experiment, analyzed the data, and organized the results.