Community Ecology: Processes, Models, and Applications by Herman A. Verhoef, Peter J. Morin

By Herman A. Verhoef, Peter J. Morin

Nice source for graduate scholars and researchers. presents an effective history within the present figuring out and uncertainty surrounding neighborhood ecology.

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Additional info for Community Ecology: Processes, Models, and Applications

Example text

The major problem is that ecological resilience cannot be measured in practice. Models can be used as indicators of ecological resilience (Carpenter et al. 2001), but the mechanisms of these transitions are often poorly known (Scheffer and Carpenter 2003). Recently, van Nes and Scheffer (2007) and Carpenter et al. (2008) have successfully explored various indicators of an upcoming catastrophic shift, such as the ‘critical slowing down’ known from physics. The long-term persistence of complex food webs is not automatically linked to stability, and many mathematical models predict that species interactions can create chaos and species extinctions.

Bascompte and Melian (2005) recently compared the frequency of different types of modules across natural food webs. They found that apparent competition and intra-guild predation (Fig. 1) were generally overrepresented with respect to a suite of null models, while the level of omnivory varied highly across ecosystems. The relative importance of external forcing versus internal dynamics as causes of dynamics in food webs under natural conditions is still hard to assess, despite a long history of research on the subject (Pimm 1982, 1991; Loreau and de Mazancourt 2008).

Having examined the geometry and structure of the ecological networks in Chapter 1 we will move on to consider the dynamics of communities, and concentrate on the analysis of changes in the abundance of species in a multitrophic context. In 1927 Charles Elton stated that the structure of a community is determined by the net of feeding relations between trophic units, the food web. The topology of these feeding links (Chapter 1) naturally emerges from the dynamics of populations within ecological communities (May 1973; Neutel et al.

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