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Identifying important interaction modifications in ecological systems

Identifying important interaction modifications in ecological systems
Identifying important interaction modifications in ecological systems
Trophic interaction modifications, where a consumer‐resource link is affected by additional species, are widespread and significant causes of non‐trophic effects in ecological networks. The sheer number of potential interaction modifications in ecological systems poses a considerable challenge, making prioritisation for empirical study essential. Here, we introduce measures to quantify the topological relationship of individual interaction modifications relative to the underlying network. We use these, together with measures for the strength of trophic interaction modifications, to identify features of modifications that are most likely to exert significant effects on the dynamics of whole systems. Using a set of simulated food webs and randomly distributed interaction modifications, we test whether a subset of interaction modifications important for the local stability and direction of species responses to perturbation of complex networks can be identified. We show that trophic interaction modifications have particular importance for dynamics when they affect interactions with a high biomass flux, connect species otherwise distantly linked, and where high trophic‐level species modify interactions lower in the food web. In contrast, the centrality of modifications in the network provided little information. This work demonstrates that analyses of interaction modifications can be tractable at the network scale and highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between the distributions of trophic and non‐trophic effects.
0030-1299
Terry, J. Christopher. D
45080e50-8452-43a1-8caa-3c08912e9e09
Bonsall, Michael B.
d0b21c0f-ede4-40e9-91a2-4fe41a06d3c6
Morris, Rebecca J
f63d9be3-e08f-4251-b6a0-43b312d3997e
Terry, J. Christopher. D
45080e50-8452-43a1-8caa-3c08912e9e09
Bonsall, Michael B.
d0b21c0f-ede4-40e9-91a2-4fe41a06d3c6
Morris, Rebecca J
f63d9be3-e08f-4251-b6a0-43b312d3997e

Terry, J. Christopher. D, Bonsall, Michael B. and Morris, Rebecca J (2019) Identifying important interaction modifications in ecological systems. Oikos. (doi:10.1111/oik.06353).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Trophic interaction modifications, where a consumer‐resource link is affected by additional species, are widespread and significant causes of non‐trophic effects in ecological networks. The sheer number of potential interaction modifications in ecological systems poses a considerable challenge, making prioritisation for empirical study essential. Here, we introduce measures to quantify the topological relationship of individual interaction modifications relative to the underlying network. We use these, together with measures for the strength of trophic interaction modifications, to identify features of modifications that are most likely to exert significant effects on the dynamics of whole systems. Using a set of simulated food webs and randomly distributed interaction modifications, we test whether a subset of interaction modifications important for the local stability and direction of species responses to perturbation of complex networks can be identified. We show that trophic interaction modifications have particular importance for dynamics when they affect interactions with a high biomass flux, connect species otherwise distantly linked, and where high trophic‐level species modify interactions lower in the food web. In contrast, the centrality of modifications in the network provided little information. This work demonstrates that analyses of interaction modifications can be tractable at the network scale and highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between the distributions of trophic and non‐trophic effects.

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Terry_et_al-2019-Oikos - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 5 November 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 November 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435678
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435678
ISSN: 0030-1299
PURE UUID: de276c9c-693b-4a19-a112-ce896ce4b59b
ORCID for Rebecca J Morris: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0020-5327

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 06:31

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Contributors

Author: J. Christopher. D Terry
Author: Michael B. Bonsall

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