Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Five fundamental ways in which complex food webs may spiral out of control


Lever, J Jelle; Van Nes, Egbert H; Scheffer, Marten; Bascompte, Jordi (2023). Five fundamental ways in which complex food webs may spiral out of control. Ecology Letters, 26(10):1765-1779.

Abstract

Theory suggests that increasingly long, negative feedback loops of many interacting species may destabilize food webs as complexity increases. Less attention has, however, been paid to the specific ways in which these ‘delayed negative feedbacks’ may affect the response of complex ecosystems to global environmental change. Here, we describe five fundamental ways in which these feedbacks might pave the way for abrupt, large‐scale transitions and species losses. By combining topological and bioenergetic models, we then proceed by showing that the likelihood of such transitions increases with the number of interacting species and/or when the combined effects of stabilizing network patterns approach the minimum required for stable coexistence. Our findings thus shift the question from the classical question of what makes complex, unaltered ecosystems stable to whether the effects of, known and unknown, stabilizing food‐web patterns are sufficient to prevent abrupt, large‐scale transitions under global environmental change.

Abstract

Theory suggests that increasingly long, negative feedback loops of many interacting species may destabilize food webs as complexity increases. Less attention has, however, been paid to the specific ways in which these ‘delayed negative feedbacks’ may affect the response of complex ecosystems to global environmental change. Here, we describe five fundamental ways in which these feedbacks might pave the way for abrupt, large‐scale transitions and species losses. By combining topological and bioenergetic models, we then proceed by showing that the likelihood of such transitions increases with the number of interacting species and/or when the combined effects of stabilizing network patterns approach the minimum required for stable coexistence. Our findings thus shift the question from the classical question of what makes complex, unaltered ecosystems stable to whether the effects of, known and unknown, stabilizing food‐web patterns are sufficient to prevent abrupt, large‐scale transitions under global environmental change.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

0 downloads since deposited on 18 Dec 2023
0 downloads since 12 months

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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 October 2023
Deposited On:18 Dec 2023 09:08
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1461-023X
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.14293
PubMed ID:37587015
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020 European Research Council
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)