SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • antipredator traits;
  • ecological risk assessment;
  • escape speed;
  • global warming;
  • latitudinal gradient;
  • metals;
  • predator avoidance;
  • space-for-time substitution;
  • thermal adaptation

Abstract

The ability to deal with temperature-induced changes in interactions with contaminants and predators under global warming is one of the outstanding, applied evolutionary questions. For this, it is crucial to understand how contaminants will affect activity levels, predator avoidance and antipredator responses under global warming and to what extent gradual thermal evolution may mitigate these effects. Using a space-for-time substitution approach, we assessed the potential for gradual thermal evolution shaping activity (mobility and foraging), predator avoidance and antipredator responses when Ischnura elegans damselfly larvae were exposed to zinc in a common-garden warming experiment at the mean summer water temperatures of shallow water bodies at southern and northern latitudes (24 and 20°C, respectively). Zinc reduced mobility and foraging, predator avoidance and escape swimming speed. Importantly, high-latitude populations showed stronger zinc-induced reductions in escape swimming speed at both temperatures, and in activity levels at the high temperature. The latter indicates that local thermal adaptation may strongly change the ecological impact of contaminants under global warming. Our study underscores the critical importance of considering local adaptation along natural gradients when integrating biotic interactions in ecological risk assessment, and the potential of gradual thermal evolution mitigating the effects of warming on the vulnerability to contaminants.