Foraging adaptation and the relationship between food-web complexity and stability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

407 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ecological theory suggests that complex food webs should not persist because of their inherent instability. "Real" ecosystems often support a large number of interacting species. A mathematical model shows that fluctuating short-term selection on trophic links, arising from a consumer's adaptive food choice, is a key to the long-term stability of complex communities. Without adaptive foragers, food-web complexity destabilizes community composition; whereas in their presence, complexity may enhance community persistence through facilitation of dynamical food-web reconstruction that buffers environmental fluctuations. The model predicts a linkage pattern consistent with field observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1391
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume299
Issue number5611
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Feb 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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