Document Detail

Food web expansion and contraction in response to changing environmental conditions.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23033081     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Macroscopic ecosystem properties, such as major material pathways and community biomass structure, underlie the ecosystem services on which humans rely. While ecologists have long sought to identify the determinants of the trophic height of food webs (food chain length), it is somewhat surprising how little research effort is invested in understanding changes among other food web properties across environmental conditions. Here we theoretically and empirically show how a suite of fundamental macroscopic food web structures respond, in concert, to changes in habitat accessibility using post-glacial lakes as model ecosystems. We argue that as resource accessibility increases in coupled food webs, food chain length contracts (that is, reduced predator trophic position), habitat coupling expands (that is, increasingly coupled macrohabitats) and biomass pyramid structure becomes more top heavy. Our results further support an emerging theoretical view of flexible food webs that provides a foundation for generally understanding ecosystem responses to changing environmental conditions.
Tyler D Tunney; Kevin S McCann; Nigel P Lester; Brian J Shuter
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature communications     Volume:  3     ISSN:  2041-1723     ISO Abbreviation:  Nat Commun     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-03     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101528555     Medline TA:  Nat Commun     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1105     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
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