Temperature has strong effects on metabolic processes of individuals and demographics of populations, but effects on ecological communities are not well known. Many economically and ecologically important pest species have obligate associations with other organisms; therefore, effects of temperature on these species might be mediated by strong interactions. The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann) harbors a rich community of phoretic mites and fungi that are linked by many strong direct and indirect interactions, providing multiple pathways for temperature to affect the system. We tested the effects of temperature on this community by manipulating communities within naturally infested sections of pine trees. Direct effects of temperature on component species were conspicuous and sometimes predictable based on single-species physiology, but there were also strong indirect effects of temperature via alteration of species interactions that could not have been predicted based on autecological temperature responses. Climatic variation, including directional warming, will likely influence ecological systems through direct physiological effects as well as indirect effects through species interactions.
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Vol. 40 • No. 4