Elevated atmospheric CO2 can alter aquatic communities via changes in allochthonous litter inputs. We tested effects of atmospheric CO2 on the invasive Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and native Aedes triseriatus (Say) (Diptera: Culicidae) via changes in competition for microbial food or resource inhibition/toxicity. Quercus alba L. litter was produced under elevated (879 ppm) and ambient (388 ppm) atmospheric CO2. Saplings grown at elevated CO2 produced greater litter biomass, which decayed faster and leached more tannins than saplings at ambient CO2. Competition was tested by raising larvae in different species and density combinations provisioned with elevated- or ambient-CO2 litter. Species-specific performance to water conditions was tested by providing single-species larval cohorts with increasing amounts of elevated- or ambient-CO2 litter, or increasing concentrations of tannic acid. Larval densities affected some fitness parameters of Ae. albopictus and Ae. triseriatus, but elevated-CO2 litter did not modify the effects of competition on population growth rates or any fitness parameters. Population growth rates and survival of each species generally were affected negatively by increasing amounts of both elevated- and ambient-CO2 litter from 0.252 to 2.016 g/liter, and tannic acid concentrations above 100 mg/liter were entirely lethal to both species. Aedes albopictus had consistently higher population growth rates than Ae. triseriatus. These results suggest that changes to litter production and chemistry from elevated CO2 are unlikely to affect the competitive outcome between Ae. albopictus and Ae. triseriatus, but that moderate increases in litter production increase population growth rates of both species until a threshold is exceeded that results in resource inhibition and toxicity.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3