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SFS Annual Meeting

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Predicting the effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems requires an understanding of controls on energy flow through food webs, including the role of temperature in organic carbon processing by heterotrophs. Respiration, consumption, and instantaneous growth rates of consumers are all expected to increase across broad ranges in temperature. However, the relative temperature dependencies of these processes are less certain, hampering predictions related to how organismal energy budgets and the role of consumers in carbon processing (i.e., energetic efficiencies) will respond to higher temperature (T). We are studying the metabolic response of larval Chironomidae (Diptera), dominant processors of organic matter in many freshwater ecosystems, to temperature in Appalachian headwater streams. Gut passage time (GPT), a measure of consumption, is known to be faster with higher temperatures (GPT, min = 336.47*T^0.766). Length- and temperature-specific growth data describe negative and positive correlations with growth, respectively,: g = 0.0051 – 0.068*ln(L) + 0.006*T. Our results will be placed in the context of metabolic theory to understand how temperature scales with and affects aquatic ecosystem function.

Kyle Madoni (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Alabama,;

Jonathan Benstead (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), The University of Alabama,;

Wyatt Cross (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Montana State University, ;