Developing linkages between species traits and multiscaled environmental variation to explore vulnerability of stream benthic communities to climate change
Forecasting responses of benthic community structure and function to anthropogenic climate change is an emerging scientific challenge. Characterizing benthic species by biological attributes (traits) that are responsive to temperature and streamflow conditions can support a mechanistic approach for assessing the potential ecological responses to climate change. However, nonclimatic environmental factors also structure benthic communities and may mitigate transient climatic conditions, and these must be considered in evaluating potential impacts of climate change. Here we used macroinvertebrate and environmental data for 279 reference-quality sites spanning 12 states in the western US. For each sampling location,...