Keystone species and vulnerable species in ecological communities: strong or weak interactors?
2005 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, Vol. 35, no 1, 95-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The loss of a species from an ecological community can trigger a cascade of secondary extinctions. The probability of secondary extinction to take place and the number of secondary extinctions are likely to depend on the characteristics of the species that is lost—the strength of its interactions with other species—as well as on the distribution of interaction strengths in the whole community. Analysing the effects of species loss in model communities we found that removal of the following species categories triggered, on average, the largest number of secondary extinctions: (a) rare species interacting strongly with many consumers, (b) abundant basal species interacting weakly with their consumers and (c) abundant intermediate species interacting strongly with many resources. We also found that the keystone status of a species with given characteristics was context dependent, that is, dependent on the structure of the community where it was embedded. Species vulnerable to secondary extinctions were mainly species interacting weakly with their resources and species interacting strongly with their consumers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 35, no 1, 95-103 p.
Species loss; Keystone species; Interaction strength; Community dynamics; Permanence; Secondary extinction
National CategoryNatural Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14053DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.12.022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14053DiVA: diva2:22539