Climate change is one of the key stressors threatening the future of Earth’s biota. The ongoing global warming is accompanied by predictable and stochastic variation in temperatures, whose impact on biota is incompletely understood. Freshwater ectotherms are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures because of their limited possibilities to reduce the exposure to local climate change by behavioural responses. We thus aim to combine experimental approaches and numerical simulations to develop a mechanistic framework for integrated adaptive capacity in freshwater ectotherms to realistic warming patterns, using caudate amphibians and selected invertebrate taxa as model groups. We will focus on the influence of predictable, stochastic, and extreme thermal variation on thermal reaction norms in physiological, behavioural, and ecological traits, and investigate their consequences for species interactions and community level responses. Our results will contribute to improved predictions of the impacts of climate change on freshwater biodiversity and community dynamics.