Document Detail

Reconciling the omnivory-stability debate.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22173458     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Abstract Despite attempts at reconciliation, the role of omnivory in food web stability remains unclear. Here we develop a novel community matrix approach that is analogous to the bifurcation method of modular food web theory to show that the stability of omnivorous food chains depends critically on interaction strength. We find that there are only six possible ways that omnivorous interaction strengths can influence the stability of linear food chains. The results from these six cases suggest that: (1) strong omnivory is always destabilizing, (2) stabilization by weak to intermediate omnivorous interaction strengths dominates the set of possible stability responses, and, (3) omnivory can be occasionally strictly destabilizing or intermittently destabilizing. We then revisit the classical results of Pimm and Lawton to show that although their parameterization tends to produce a low percentage of stable omnivorous webs, the same parameterization shows strong theoretical support for the weak interaction effect. Finally, we end by arguing that our current empirical knowledge of omnivory resonates with this general theory.
Gabriel Gellner; Kevin McCann
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-11-30
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American naturalist     Volume:  179     ISSN:  1537-5323     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. Nat.     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-12-16     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2984688R     Medline TA:  Am Nat     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  22-37     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
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