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Linking physiology to ecosystem function: how vulnerable are different functional groups to climate change?
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  • Carmen da Silva,
  • Julian Beaman,
  • Jacob Youngblood,
  • Vanessa Kellermann,
  • Sarah Diamond
Carmen da Silva
Case Western Reserve University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Julian Beaman
Flinders University
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Jacob Youngblood
Arizona State University
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Vanessa Kellermann
Monash University
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Sarah Diamond
Case Western Reserve University
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Abstract

The resilience of ecosystem function under global climate change is governed by individual species vulnerabilities and the functional groups they comprise. Yet it remains unclear whether the species that contribute to different functional processes which underpin ecosystem function exhibit differential vulnerability to climate change. We used existing thermal physiological trait data across a range of terrestrial species to examine the vulnerability of key functional groups to climate change (e.g. decomposers, primary producers, pollinators, primary, secondary and tertiary consumers). We found that primary producers had the broadest warming margins across the globe, and that vulnerability tended to increase with trophic level. However, we found that vulnerability within functional groups changed across geographic scales, where some groups were more vulnerable in low-latitude regions and others were more vulnerable at mid-latitude regions. This study provides a critical first step in linking individual species vulnerabilities with whole ecosystem responses to climate change.