Size-based food web characteristics govern the response to speciesextinctions
2011 (English)In: Basic and Applied Ecology, ISSN 1439-1791, Vol. 12, no 7, 581-589 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
How ecological communities react to species extinctions is a long-standing yet current question in ecology. The speciesconstituting the basic units of ecosystems interact with each other forming complex networks of trophic relationships andthe characteristics of these networks are highly important for the consequences of species extinction. Here we take a moregeneral approach and analyze a broad range of network characteristics and their role in determining food web susceptibility tosecondary extinctions. We extend previous studies, that have focused on the consequences of topological and dynamical foodweb parameters for food web robustness, by also defining network-wide characteristics depending on the relationships betweenthe distribution of species body masses and other species characteristics. We use a bioenergetic dynamical model to simulaterealistically structured model food webs that differ in their structural and dynamical properties as well as their size structure. Inorder to measure food web robustness we calculated the proportion of species going secondarily extinct. A multiple regressionanalysis was then used to fit a general model relating the proportion of species going secondarily extinct to the measured foodweb properties. Our results show that there are multiple factors from all three groups of food web characteristics that affect foodweb robustness. However, we find the most striking effect was related to the body mass–abundance relationship which pointsto the importance of body mass relationships for food web stability.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011. Vol. 12, no 7, 581-589 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73620DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2011.09.006ISI: 000299149700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-73620DiVA: diva2:475177