Narrow safety margin in the phyllosphere during thermal extremes

Abstract : The thermal limit of ectotherms provides an estimate of vulnerability to climate change. It differs between contrasting microhab-itats, consistent with thermal ecology predictions that a species' temperature sensitivity matches the microclimate it experiences. However, observed thermal limits may differ between ectotherms from the same environment, challenging this theory. We resolved this apparent paradox by showing that ectotherm activity generates microclimatic deviations large enough to account for differences in thermal limits between species from the same mi-crohabitat. We studied upper lethal temperature, effect of feeding mode on plant gas exchange, and temperature of attacked leaves in a community of six arthropod species feeding on apple leaves. Thermal limits differed by up to 8 °C among the species. Species that caused an increase in leaf transpiration (+182%), thus cooling the leaf, had a lower thermal limit than those that decreased leaf transpiration (−75%), causing the leaf to warm up. Therefore, cryptic microclimatic variations at the scale of a single leaf determine the thermal limit in this community of herbivores. We investigated the consequences of these changes in plant tran-spiration induced by plant-insect feedbacks for species vulnerability to thermal extremes.
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Sylvain Pincebourde, Jérome Casas. Narrow safety margin in the phyllosphere during thermal extremes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , National Academy of Sciences, 2019, 116 (12), pp.5588-5596. ⟨10.1073/pnas.1815828116⟩. ⟨hal-02123696⟩

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