Spatial aspects of food webs
2005 (English)In: Dynamic Food Webs: Multispecies Assemblages, Ecosystem Development and Environmental Change / [ed] P.C. deRuiter, V. Wolters & J.C. Moore, London, UK: Elsevier, 2005, Vol. 3, 463-469 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Aspects of spatial scale have until recently been largely ignored in empirical and theoretical food web studies (e.g., Cohen & Briand 1984, Martinez 1992, but see Bengtsson et al. 2002, Bengtsson & Berg, this book). Most ecologists tend to conceptualize and represent food webs as static representations of communities, depicting a community assemblage as sampled at a particular point in time, or highly aggregated trophic group composites over broader scales of time and space (Polis et al. 1996). Moreover, most researchers depict potential food webs, which contain all species sampled and all potential trophic links based on literature reviews, several sampling events, or laboratory feeding trials. In reality, however, not all these potential feeding links are realized as not all species co-occur, and not all samples in space or time can contain all species (Schoenly & Cohen 1991), hence, yielding a variance of food web architecture in space (Brose et al. 2004). In recent years, food web ecologists have recognized that food webs are open systems – that are influence by processes in adjacent systems – and spatially heterogeneous (Polis et al. 1996). This influence of adjacent systems can be bottom-up, due to allochthonous inputs of resources (Polis & Strong 1996, Huxel & McCann 1998, Mulder & De Zwart 2003), or top-down due to the regular or irregular presence of top predators (e.g., Post et al. 2000, Scheu 2001). However, without a clear understanding of the size of a system and a definition of its boundaries it is not possible to judge if flows are internal or driven by adjacent systems. Similarly, the importance of allochthony is only assessable when the balance of inputs and outputs are known relative to the scale and throughputs within the system itself. At the largest scale of the food web – the home range of a predator such as wolf, lion, shark or eagle of roughly 50 km2 to 300 km2 –the balance of inputs and outputs caused by wind and movement of water may be small compared to the total trophic flows within the home range of the large predator (Cousins 1990). Acknowledging these issues of space, Polis et al (1996) argued that progress toward the next phase of food web studies would require addressing spatial and temporal processes. Here, we present a conceptual framework with some nuclei about the role of space in food web ecology. Although we primarily address spatial aspects, this framework is linked to a more general concept of spatio-temporal scales of ecological research.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: Elsevier, 2005. Vol. 3, 463-469 p.
, Theoretical Ecology Series, ISSN 1875-306X
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-31067Local ID: 16789ISBN: 9780120884582ISBN: 0120884585OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-31067DiVA: diva2:251890
Food Web Symposium 2003, Giessen, Germany, 13-16 November 2003