Potential oscillators & keystone modules

Working with colleagues at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan and the University of Guelph in Canada, we have published new research in Ecology Letters. The article is available online.


Potential oscillators and keystone modules in food webs 

Kadoya, T.G. Gellner, and K.S. McCann


Food web theory suggests that the placement of a weak interaction is critical such that under some conditions even one well‐placed weak interaction can stabilise multiple strong interactions. This theory suggests that complex stable webs may be built from pivotal weak interactions such that the removal of even one to a few keystone interactions can have significant cascading impacts on whole system diversity and structure. However, the connection between weak interactions, derived from the theory of modular food web components, and keystone species, derived from empirical results, is not yet well understood. Here, we develop numerical techniques to detect potential oscillators hidden in complex food webs, and show that, both in random and real food webs, keystone consumer–resource interactions often operate to stabilise them. Alarmingly, this result suggests that nature frequently may be dangerously close to precipitous change with even the loss of one or a few weakly interacting species.

Full article can be accessed here.

This article has been Recommended by F1000.  F1000

First published: 27 June 2018 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s