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Self-regulation and the stability of large ecological networks
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. University of Chicago, IL 60637 USA.
University of Chicago, IL 60637 USA.
University of Chicago, IL 60637 USA; Northwestern University, IL 60208 USA.
2017 (English)In: NATURE ECOLOGY and EVOLUTION, ISSN 2397-334X, Vol. 1, no 12, p. 1870-+Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The stability of complex ecological networks depends both on the interactions between species and the direct effects of the species on themselves. These self-effects are known as self-regulation when an increase in a species abundance decreases its per-capita growth rate. Sources of self-regulation include intraspecific interference, cannibalism, time-scale separation between consumers and their resources, spatial heterogeneity and nonlinear functional responses coupling predators with their prey. The influence of self-regulation on network stability is understudied and in addition, the empirical estimation of self-effects poses a formidable challenge. Here, we show that empirical food web structures cannot be stabilized unless the majority of species exhibit substantially strong self-regulation. We also derive an analytical formula predicting the effect of self-regulation on network stability with high accuracy and show that even for random networks, as well as networks with a cascade structure, stability requires negative self-effects for a large proportion of species. These results suggest that the aforementioned potential mechanisms of self-regulation are probably more important in contributing to the stability of observed ecological networks than was previously thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2017. Vol. 1, no 12, p. 1870-+
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-143926DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0357-6ISI: 000417194600015PubMedID: 29062124OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-143926DiVA, id: diva2:1169790
Note

Funding Agencies|National Science Foundation [1148867]; United States Department of Education grant [P200A150101]

Available from: 2017-12-29 Created: 2017-12-29 Last updated: 2018-01-18

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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