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More than a meal… integrating non-feeding interactions into food webs


Abstract

Organisms eating each other are only one of many types of well documented and important interactions among
species. Other such types include habitat modification, predator interference and facilitation. However,
ecological network research has been typically limited to either pure food webs or to networks of only a few
(<3) interaction types. The great diversity of non-trophic interactions observed in nature has been poorly
addressed by ecologists and largely excluded from network theory. Herein, we propose a conceptual framework
that organises this diversity into three main functional classes defined by how they modify specific parameters
in a dynamic food web model. This approach provides a path forward for incorporating non-trophic
interactions in traditional food web models and offers a new perspective on tackling ecological complexity that
should stimulate both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the patterns and dynamics of
diverse species interactions in nature.

Abstract

Organisms eating each other are only one of many types of well documented and important interactions among
species. Other such types include habitat modification, predator interference and facilitation. However,
ecological network research has been typically limited to either pure food webs or to networks of only a few
(<3) interaction types. The great diversity of non-trophic interactions observed in nature has been poorly
addressed by ecologists and largely excluded from network theory. Herein, we propose a conceptual framework
that organises this diversity into three main functional classes defined by how they modify specific parameters
in a dynamic food web model. This approach provides a path forward for incorporating non-trophic
interactions in traditional food web models and offers a new perspective on tackling ecological complexity that
should stimulate both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the patterns and dynamics of
diverse species interactions in nature.

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126 citations in Web of Science®
121 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:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:21 May 2012 11:33
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 14:03
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1461-023X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01732.x

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