Document Detail

Rescuing ecosystems from extinction cascades through compensatory perturbations.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21266969     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Food-web perturbations stemming from climate change, overexploitation, invasive species and habitat degradation often cause an initial loss of species that results in a cascade of secondary extinctions, posing considerable challenges to ecosystem conservation efforts. Here, we devise a systematic network-based approach to reduce the number of secondary extinctions using a predictive modelling framework. We show that the extinction of one species can often be compensated by the concurrent removal or population suppression of other specific species, a counterintuitive effect not previously tested in complex food webs. These compensatory perturbations frequently involve long-range interactions that are not evident from local predator-prey relationships. In numerous cases, even the early removal of a species that would eventually go extinct is found to significantly reduce the number of cascading extinctions. These compensatory perturbations only exploit resources available in the system, and illustrate the potential of human intervention combined with predictive modelling for ecosystem management.
Sagar Sahasrabudhe; Adilson E Motter
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature communications     Volume:  2     ISSN:  2041-1723     ISO Abbreviation:  Nat Commun     Publication Date:  2011 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-01-26     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101528555     Medline TA:  Nat Commun     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  170     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.
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