Relative ascendency predicts food web robustness

Canning, Adam Douglas, and Death, Russell George (2018) Relative ascendency predicts food web robustness. Ecological Research, 33 (5). pp. 873-878.

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Threats to ecosystems globally from anthropogenic disturbance and climate change requires us to urgently identify the most sensitive biological communities to ensure they are effectively preserved. It is for this reason that understanding and predicting food web stability has been topical within ecology. Food web stability is a multi‐faceted concept that represents the ability of a food web to maintain its integrity following disturbance, it includes resistance, resilience and fragility. In this study, we examine the ability of four food web metrics to predict the fragility to random species extinctions in 120 qualitative food webs. We show that three information‐based indices out performed food web connectance in predicting fragility, with relative ascendency having the strongest relationship. Relative ascendency was a much stronger predictor of fragility than MacArthur's stability metric, Average Mutual Information and connectance as it accounted for both the distribution and number of links between species. We also find that most qualitative food webs persist around a central tendency of relative ascendency.

Item ID: 64219
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1703
Keywords: Food web; Stability; Ascendency; Connectance; Trophic cascade
Copyright Information: © The Ecological Society of Japan 2018
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 04:19
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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