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A new dimension: Evolutionary food web dynamics in two dimensional trait space

Ritterskamp, D., Bearup, Daniel, Blasius, B. (2016) A new dimension: Evolutionary food web dynamics in two dimensional trait space. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 405 . pp. 66-81. ISSN 0022-5193. (doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.03.042) (KAR id:64314)


Species within a habitat are not uniformly distributed. However this aspect of community structure, which is fundamental to many conservation activities, is neglected in the majority of models of food web assembly. To address this issue, we introduce a model which incorporates a second dimension, which can be interpreted as space, into the trait space used in evolutionary food web models. Our results show that the additional trait axis allows the emergence of communities with a much greater range of network structures, similar to the diversity observed in real ecological communities. Moreover, the network properties of the food webs obtained are in good agreement with those of empirical food webs. Community emergence follows a consistent pattern with spread along the second trait axis occurring before the assembly of higher trophic levels. Communities can reach either a static final structure, or constantly evolve. We observe that the relative importance of competition and predation is a key determinant of the network structure and the evolutionary dynamics. The latter are driven by the interaction—competition and predation—between small groups of species. The model remains sufficiently simple that we are able to identify the factors, and mechanisms, which determine the final community state.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.03.042
Additional information: cited By 4
Uncontrolled keywords: Spatial food webs; Higher dimensional trait space; Network structure; Evolutionary dynamics; Large community-evolution models
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 11:39 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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