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Complex food webs prevent competitive exclusion among producer species

Brose, Ulrich (2008):
Complex food webs prevent competitive exclusion among producer species.
In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, pp. 2507-2514, 275, (1650), [Online-Edition: http://apps.isiknowledge.com/full_record.do?product=WOS&sear...],
[Article]

Abstract

Herbivorous top-down forces and bottom-up competition for nutrients determine the coexistence and relative biomass patterns of producer species. Combining models of predator-prey and producer-nutrient interactions with a structural model of complex food webs, I investigated these two aspects in a dynamic food-web model. While competitive exclusion leads to persistence of only one producer species in 99.7% of the simulated simple producer communities without consumers, embedding the same producer communities in complex food webs generally yields producer coexistence. In simple producer communities, the producers with the most efficient nutrient-intake rates increase in biomass until they competitively exclude inferior producers. In food webs, herbivory predominantly reduces the biomass density of those producers that dominated in producer communities, which yields a more even biomass distribution. In contrast to prior analyses of simple modules, this facilitation of producer coexistence by herbivory does not require a trade-off between the nutrient-intake efficiency and the resistance to herbivory. The local network structure of food webs (top-down effects of the number of herbivores and the herbivores' maximum consumption rates) and the nutrient supply (bottom-up effect) interactively determine the relative biomass densities of the producer species. A strong negative feedback loop emerges in food webs: factors that increase producer biomasses also increase herbivory, which reduces producer biomasses. This negative feedback loop regulates the coexistence and biomass patterns of the producers by balancing biomass increases of producers and biomass fluxes to herbivores, which prevents competitive exclusion.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2008
Creators: Brose, Ulrich
Title: Complex food webs prevent competitive exclusion among producer species
Language: English
Abstract:

Herbivorous top-down forces and bottom-up competition for nutrients determine the coexistence and relative biomass patterns of producer species. Combining models of predator-prey and producer-nutrient interactions with a structural model of complex food webs, I investigated these two aspects in a dynamic food-web model. While competitive exclusion leads to persistence of only one producer species in 99.7% of the simulated simple producer communities without consumers, embedding the same producer communities in complex food webs generally yields producer coexistence. In simple producer communities, the producers with the most efficient nutrient-intake rates increase in biomass until they competitively exclude inferior producers. In food webs, herbivory predominantly reduces the biomass density of those producers that dominated in producer communities, which yields a more even biomass distribution. In contrast to prior analyses of simple modules, this facilitation of producer coexistence by herbivory does not require a trade-off between the nutrient-intake efficiency and the resistance to herbivory. The local network structure of food webs (top-down effects of the number of herbivores and the herbivores' maximum consumption rates) and the nutrient supply (bottom-up effect) interactively determine the relative biomass densities of the producer species. A strong negative feedback loop emerges in food webs: factors that increase producer biomasses also increase herbivory, which reduces producer biomasses. This negative feedback loop regulates the coexistence and biomass patterns of the producers by balancing biomass increases of producers and biomass fluxes to herbivores, which prevents competitive exclusion.

Journal or Publication Title: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Volume: 275
Number: 1650
Divisions: 10 Department of Biology
10 Department of Biology > Ecoinformatics and computational ecology
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Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2009 06:11
Official URL: http://apps.isiknowledge.com/full_record.do?product=WOS&sear...
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