Thermal performance curves of Paramecium caudatum: A model selection approach

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



The ongoing climate change has motivated numerous studies investigating the temperature response of various organisms, especially that of ectotherms. To correctly describe the thermal performance of these organisms, functions are needed which sufficiently fit to the complete optimum curve. Surprisingly, model-comparisons for the temperature-dependence of population growth rates of an important ectothermic group, the protozoa, are still missing. In this study, temperature reaction norms of natural isolates of the freshwater protist Paramecium caudatum were investigated, considering nearly the entire temperature range. These reaction norms were used to estimate thermal performance curves by applying a set of commonly used model functions. An information theory approach was used to compare models and to identify the best ones for describing these data. Our results indicate that the models which can describe negative growth at the high- and low-temperature branch of an optimum curve are preferable. This is a prerequisite for accurately calculating the critical upper and lower thermal limits. While we detected a temperature optimum of around 29 °C for all investigated clonal strains, the critical thermal limits were considerably different between individual clones. Here, the tropical clone showed the narrowest thermal tolerance, with a shift of its critical thermal limits to higher temperatures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-137
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean journal of protistology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

External IDs

PubMed 21277756
ORCID /0000-0002-4951-6468/work/142256761


Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Ciliate, Ecophysiological characteristics, Non-linear models, Paramecium, Population growth rate, Temperature