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Fit, efficiency, and biology: Some thoughts on judging food web models


Petchey, O L; Beckerman, A P; Riede, J O; Warren, P H (2011). Fit, efficiency, and biology: Some thoughts on judging food web models. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 279(1):169-171.

Abstract

Revealing the processes that determine who eats whom, and there by the structure of food webs,is a long running challenge in ecological research. Recent advances include development of new methods for measuring fit of models to observed food webdata,and there by testing which are the‘best’ food web models. The best model could be considered the most efficient with relatively few parameters and high explanatory power. Another recent advance involves adding some additional biology to food web
models in the form of foraging theory based on maximisation of energy intake as the predictor of
species’ diets in food webs. While it is interesting to compare efficiency among food web models,we
believe that such comparisons at least should be interpreted with caution,since they do not account for
any differences in motivation, formulation, and potential that might also exist among models.
Furthermore,we see an important but somewhat neglected role for experimental tests of models of
food web structure.

Abstract

Revealing the processes that determine who eats whom, and there by the structure of food webs,is a long running challenge in ecological research. Recent advances include development of new methods for measuring fit of models to observed food webdata,and there by testing which are the‘best’ food web models. The best model could be considered the most efficient with relatively few parameters and high explanatory power. Another recent advance involves adding some additional biology to food web
models in the form of foraging theory based on maximisation of energy intake as the predictor of
species’ diets in food webs. While it is interesting to compare efficiency among food web models,we
believe that such comparisons at least should be interpreted with caution,since they do not account for
any differences in motivation, formulation, and potential that might also exist among models.
Furthermore,we see an important but somewhat neglected role for experimental tests of models of
food web structure.

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6 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:German
Date:2011
Deposited On:06 Dec 2011 08:34
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:54
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-5193
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.03.019
PubMed ID:21453710

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