Sensitivity analysis at the community level
2006 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Human-induced changes in the birth and mortality rates of species and in the strength of interactions within and between species can lead to changes in the resilience of ecological communities. Here we derive analytical expressions for the sensitivity of community resilience to changes in the intrinsic growth rate of species and in the strengths of interaction links. These new methods are applied on model communities to illustrate how they can be used to identify keystone species and keystone links - keystone species and keystone links in the sensethat small changes in their growth rates and strengths, respectively, will have large effects on the resilience of the community. We find that small changes in the intrinsic growth rates of rare species (e.g. top predators) and strongly interacting species have larger effect on resilience than changes in the growth rates of abundant species and weakly interacting species. Moreover, we find that small changes in the strength of weak interaction links cause larger changes in resilience than changes in the strength of strong links. We believe that thecommunity sensitivity analysis developed here holds some promise for identifying species and links that are critical for the resilience of ecological communities.
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IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14055DiVA: diva2:22541