Understanding climate change impacts on ecosystems is one of the most important challenges to current ecology and conservation biology. While many freshwater ectotherms are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures due to their limited dispersal ability, they may mitigate the impact of thermal stress by plastic responses. However, the role of phenotypic plasticity in life histories and species interactions under climate change is little understood. We propose to combine mathematical modelling and laboratory experiments, using aquatic insects and newts as a case study, to develop a mechanistic framework linking phenotypic plasticity to populationand community-level consequences of climate change in freshwater ectotherms. We will focus on the role of individual variations in thermal strategies, intra- and interspecific variations in thermal dependence of feeding and metabolic rates, and the effects of thermal acclimation on traits involved in trophic interactions, which together determine the ability of individuals, species and communities to cope with climate change.