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

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455 Citations (Scopus)


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
Issue number5611
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Feb 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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