Predicting species vulnerability to global warming requires a comprehensive, mechanistic understanding of sublethal and lethal thermal tolerances. To date, however, most studies investigating species physiological responses to increasing temperature have focused on the underlying physiological traits of either acute or chronic tolerance in isolation. Here we propose an integrative, synthetic approach including the investigation of multiple physiological traits (metabolic performance and thermal tolerance), and their plasticity, to provide more accurate and balanced predictions on species and assemblage vulnerability to both acute and chronic effects of global warming. We applied this approach to more accurately elucidate relative species vulnerability to warming within an assemblage of six caridean prawns occurring in the same geographic, hence macroclimatic, region, but living in different thermal habitats. Prawns were exposed to four incubation temperatures (10, 15, 20 and 25 °C) for 7 days, their metabolic rates and upper thermal limits were measured, and plasticity was calculated according to the concept of Reaction Norms, as well as Q10 for metabolism. Compared to species occupying narrower/more stable thermal niches, species inhabiting broader/more variable thermal environments (including the invasive Palaemon macrodactylus) are likely to be less vulnerable to extreme acute thermal events as a result of their higher upper thermal limits. Nevertheless, they may be at greater risk from chronic exposure to warming due to the greater metabolic costs they incur. Indeed, a trade-off between acute and chronic tolerance was apparent in the assemblage investigated. However, the invasive species P. macrodactylus represents an exception to this pattern, showing elevated thermal limits and plasticity of these limits, as well as a high metabolic control. In general, integrating multiple proxies for species physiological acute and chronic responses to increasing temperature helps providing more accurate predictions on species vulnerability to warming.