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Food web persistence in fragmented landscapes

Liao, Jinbao, Bearup, Daniel, Blasius, Bernd (2017) Food web persistence in fragmented landscapes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284 (1859). Article Number 20170350. ISSN 1471-2954. E-ISSN 1471-2954. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0350) (KAR id:64309)


Habitat destruction, characterized by patch loss and fragmentation, is a key driver of biodiversity loss. There has been some progress in the theory of spatial food webs; however, to date, practically nothing is known about how patch configurational fragmentation influences multi-trophic food web dynamics. We develop a spatially extended patch-dynamic model for different food webs by linking patch connectivity with trophic-dependent dispersal (i.e. higher trophic levels displaying longer-range dispersal). Using this model, we find that species display different sensitivities to patch loss and fragmentation, depending on their trophic position and the overall food web structure. Relative to other food webs, omnivory structure significantly increases system robustness to habitat destruction, as feeding on different trophic levels increases the omnivore’s persistence. Additionally, in food webs with a dispersal–competition trade-off between species, intermediate levels of habitat destruction can enhance biodiversity by creating refuges for the weaker competitor. This demonstrates that maximizing patch connectivity is not always effective for biodiversity maintenance, as in food webs containing indirect competition, doing so may lead to further species loss.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0350
Additional information: cited By 0
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Depositing User: Daniel Bearup
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2017 12:23 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:51 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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