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Pogonomyrmex californicus, Linepithema humile, native and invasive species, critical temperature, lethal temperature, climate change, Bernard Field Station


Climate change can disturb current ecosystems and impact the survival of certain species. To better understand how climate change will affect particular species, we can measure the maximum critical temperature (CTmax), at which responsiveness ceases, and a lethal temperature (LT) as a proxy to understand the likelihood certain species will survive climate change. We examined Pogonomyrmex californicus, native to the southwestern United States, and the non-native Linepithema humile to compare the survival of native and non-native species in the wake of climate change. We sought to confirm previous literature that has indicated that P. californicus has a higher reported CTmaxthan L. humile. Likewise, we predicted that P. californicus would also have a greater LT than L. humile. We did not find evidence in support of our hypothesis because the average CTmaxfor P. californicus was 48.6 ℃, which was lower than the average CTmaxof 51.5 ℃for L. humile. However, the average LT for P. californicus was 58.0 ℃, while that of L. humile was 54.2 ℃. P. californicus’ higher lethal temperature suggests that P. californicus may be more tolerant of climate change.