Theory predicts that ecological communities of many interacting species are unstable, despite the fact that complex ecosystems persist in nature. A recent theoretical study hypothesised that coexistence of antagonism and mutualism can stabilise a community and even give rise to a positive complexity-stability relationship. Here, using a theoretical model, we extended the earlier hypothesis to include competition as a third major interaction type, and showed that interaction-type diversity generally enhances stability of complex communities. Furthermore, we report a new finding that the hierarchically structured antagonistic interaction network is important for the stabilizing effect of interaction type diversity to emerge in complex communities. The present study indicated that the complexities characterised by species number, connectance, species variation, and interaction type diversity synergistically contributed to maintaining communities, and posed an interesting question of how present complex communities emerged, and developed from simpler ecosystems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Modelling and Simulation
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Applied Mathematics