Early naturalists suggested that predation intensity increases toward the tropics, affecting fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes by latitude, but empirical support is still limited. Several studies have measured consumption rates across latitude at large scales, with variable results. Moreover, how predation affects prey community composition at such geographic scales remains unknown. Using standardized experiments that spanned 115° of latitude, at 36 nearshore sites along both coasts of the Americas, we found that marine predators have both higher consumption rates and consistently stronger impacts on biomass and species composition of marine invertebrate communities in warmer tropical waters, likely owing to fish predators. Our results provide robust support for a temperature-dependent gradient in interaction strength and have potential implications for how marine ecosystems will respond to ocean warming.
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - 10 Jun 2022|