A framework for elucidating the temperature dependence of fitness

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Herbivorous insects and their natural enemies belong to some of the largest groups of terrestrial animals, and thus they have a great impact on the functioning of ecosystems and on the services these ecosystems provide.

Here we studied the life history traits of the plant-feeding insect , when exposed to a daily heat pulse of 5 or 10°C temperature increase during their entire immature phase.

For more than a century, biologists have known that body temperature strongly affects the capacities and rates of organisms and thus is a key determinant of organismal performance and Darwinian fitness (1–3).

Although rate/temperature (RT) relationships have been quantified for many traits and taxa, interest in RT studies is being revitalized because RT relationships are relevant to predicting biological responses to climate warming (4), as well as to testing the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE), a thermodynamic model of the impacts of body size, temperature, and metabolism on broad-scale biological patterns (5, 6). (7) present a massive compilation of RT data, evaluate quantitative predictions of MTE, and analyze systematic patterns of variation in temperature sensitivity.

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