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  • 1.
    Borrvall, Charlotte
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Ebenman, Bo
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Early onset of secondary extinctions in ecological communities following the loss of top predators2006In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 435-442Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The large vulnerability of top predators to human-induced disturbances on ecosystems is a matter of growing concern. Because top predators often exert strong influence on their prey populations their extinction can have far-reaching consequences for the structure and functioning of ecosystems. It has, for example, been observed that the local loss of a predator can trigger a cascade of secondary extinctions. However, the time lags involved in such secondary extinctions remain unexplored. Here we show that the loss of a top predator leads to a significantly earlier onset of secondary extinctions in model communities than does the loss of a species from other trophic levels. Moreover, in most cases time to secondary extinction increases with increasing species richness. If local secondary extinctions occur early they are less likely to be balanced by immigration of species from local communities nearby. The implications of these results for community persistence and conservation priorities are discussed.

  • 2.
    Cirtwill, Alyssa
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Eklöf, Anna
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Feeding environment and other traits shape species roles in marine food webs2018In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 21, no 6, p. 875-884Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Food webs and meso-scale motifs allow us to understand the structure of ecological communities and define species roles within them. This species-level perspective on networks permits tests for relationships between species traits and their patterns of direct and indirect interactions. Such relationships could allow us to predict food-web structure based on more easily obtained trait information. Here, we calculated the roles of species (as vectors of motif position frequencies) in six well-resolved marine food webs and identified the motif positions associated with the greatest variation in species roles. We then tested whether the frequencies of these positions varied with species traits. Despite the coarse-grained traits we used, our approach identified several strong associations between traits and motifs. Feeding environment was a key trait in our models and may shape species roles by affecting encounter probabilities. Incorporating environment into future food-web models may improve predictions of an unknown network structure.

  • 3.
    Eklöf, Anna
    et al.
    Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL,USA.
    Jacob, Ute
    Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Hamburg, Germany.
    Kopp, Jason
    Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL,USA.
    Bosch, Jordi
    CREAF – Ecology Unit, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
    Castro-Urgal, Rocio
    Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avanc¸ats (CSIC-UIB), Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.
    Chacoff, Natacha P.
    Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas, CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina.
    Dalsgaard, Bo
    Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
    de Sassi, Claudio
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Canterbury, New Zealand.
    Galetti, Mauro
    Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil.
    Guimaraes, Paulo R.
    Departamento de Ecologia, I.B, Universidade de S~ao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    Lomascolo, Silvia Beatriz
    Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas, CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina, Instituto de Ciencias Basicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina .
    Martin Gonzales, Ana M.
    Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab, Berkeley, CA, USA .
    Pizo, Marco Aurelio
    Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, S~ao Paulo, Brazil.
    Rader, Romina
    Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Rodrigo, Anselm
    CREAF – Ecology Unit, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
    Tylianakis, Jason M.
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Canterbury, New Zealand.
    Vásquez, Diego P.
    Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas, CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina, Instituto de Ciencias Basicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina.
    Allesina, Stefano
    Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL,USA, Computation Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA .
    The dimensionality of ecological networks2013In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 16, no 5, p. 577-583Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    How many dimensions (trait-axes) are required to predict whether two species interact? This unansweredquestion originated with the idea of ecological niches, and yet bears relevance today for understanding whatdetermines network structure. Here, we analyse a set of 200 ecological networks, including food webs,antagonistic and mutualistic networks, and find that the number of dimensions needed to completelyexplain all interactions is small ( < 10), with model selection favouring less than five. Using 18 high-qualitywebs including several species traits, we identify which traits contribute the most to explaining networkstructure. We show that accounting for a few traits dramatically improves our understanding of the structureof ecological networks. Matching traits for resources and consumers, for example, fruit size and billgape, are the most successful combinations. These results link ecologically important species attributes tolarge-scale community structure.

  • 4.
    Riede, James O.
    et al.
    J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Systemic Conservation Biology Group, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany.
    Brose, Ulrich
    J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Systemic Conservation Biology Group, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany.
    Ebenman, Bo
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Jakob, Ute
    Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, University Hamburg, Germany.
    Thompson, Ross
    School of Biological Sciences, Monash Univerity, Australia.
    Townsend, Colin R.
    Department of Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand.
    Jonsson, Tomas
    Ecological Modelling Group, Systems Biology Research Centre, University of Skövde, Sweden.
    Stepping in Elton's footprints: a general scaling model for body masses and trophic levels across ecosystems2011In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 169-178Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite growing awareness of the significance of body-size and predator–prey body-mass ratios for the stability of ecological networks,our understanding of their distribution within ecosystems is incomplete. Here, we study the relationships between predator and prey size,body-mass ratios and predator trophic levels using body-mass estimates of 1313 predators (invertebrates, ectotherm and endothermvertebrates) from 35 food-webs (marine, stream, lake and terrestrial). Across all ecosystem and predator types, except for streams (whichappear to have a different size structure in their predator–prey interactions), we find that (1) geometric mean prey mass increases withpredator mass with a power-law exponent greater than unity and (2) predator size increases with trophic level. Consistent with ourtheoretical derivations, we show that the quantitative nature of these relationships implies systematic decreases in predator–prey bodymassratios with the trophic level of the predator. Thus, predators are, on an average, more similar in size to their prey at the top of foodwebsthan that closer to the base. These findings contradict the traditional Eltonian paradigm and have implications for our understandingof body-mass constraints on food-web topology, community dynamics and stability.

  • 5.
    Sentis, Arnaud
    et al.
    University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; Biol Centre AS CR, Czech Republic; University of Toulouse III, France.
    Binzer, Amrei
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Max Planck Institute Evolutionary Biol, Germany.
    Boukal, David S.
    University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; Biol Centre AS CR, Czech Republic.
    Temperature-size responses alter food chain persistence across environmental gradients2017In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 20, no 7, p. 852-862Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Body-size reduction is a ubiquitous response to global warming alongside changes in species phenology and distributions. However, ecological consequences of temperature-size (TS) responses for community persistence under environmental change remain largely unexplored. Here, we investigated the interactive effects of warming, enrichment, community size structure and TS responses on a three-species food chain using a temperature-dependent model with empirical parameterisation. We found that TS responses often increase community persistence, mainly by modifying consumer-resource size ratios and thereby altering interaction strengths and energetic efficiencies. However, the sign and magnitude of these effects vary with warming and enrichment levels, TS responses of constituent species, and community size structure. We predict that the consequences of TS responses are stronger in aquatic than in terrestrial ecosystems, especially when species show different TS responses. We conclude that considering the links between phenotypic plasticity, environmental drivers and species interactions is crucial to better predict global change impacts on ecosystem diversity and stability.

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