Strong asymmetrical inter-specific relationships in food web simulations

Jordán, F., Scotti, Marco, Mike, Á. and Ortiz, M. (2014) Strong asymmetrical inter-specific relationships in food web simulations Marine Ecology Progress Series, 512 . pp. 89-98. DOI 10.3354/meps10950.

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In complex ecosystem models, relationships between species include a large number of direct interactions and indirect effects. In order to unveil some simple and better understandable relationships, it is useful to study the asymmetry of inter-specific effects. We present a simple approach for this based on stochastic food web simulations from previous studies. We refer to the Prince William Sound (Gulf of Alaska) marine ecosystem model for illustration. Real data were used to parameterize a dynamical food web model. Through simulations and sensitivity analysis, we determined the strength of the effects between all species. We calculated the asymmetry between the mutual effects species have on each other, and selected the top 5% most asymmetrical interactions. The set of these highly asymmetrical relationships is illustrated by a separate graph in which we calculated the positional importance of the species and correlated this to other independent properties such as population size and trophic position. Results suggest that halibut is the key species dominating this system of asymmetrical interactions, but sablefish and adult arrowtooth flounder also seem to be of high importance. Nearshore demersals display the highest number of connections in the graph of asymmetrical links, suggesting that this trophic group regulates the dynamics of many species in the food web. This approach identifies key interactions and most asymmetrical relationships, potentially increasing the efficiency of management efforts and aiding conservation efforts.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000344013800007
Keywords: Food web ; Stochastic simulation ; Asymmetrical effects ; Prince William Sound ; Eco-dynamics
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps10950
ISSN: 0171-8630
Projects: TAMOP, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 13:47
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2014 13:47

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