Module 12: Network Stability in Food Webs

Faculty Contact: Hillary Young

Research Areas:

Abstract: There is currently no consensus on best-practice modeling for network stability in food webs.  As such, we will use three different models to estimate network stability on select already-published, comprehensive food web data: 1) Stochastic Ecological Network Occupancy, 2) Allometric-Trophic Network Simulation, and 3) Generalized Models.  These tools are overlapping but each utilizes discrete input requirements/computational approaches.  We propose to compare estimates of stability produced by these different tools to four different kinds of common and biologically-relevant perturbations (size selective species losses, loss of top predators, loss of basal food resource, invasion of new predators). By comparing metrics of food web stability produced with these different tools, we can better understand the extent to which the approaches converge and assess strengths and weaknesses of each tool.  We can also examine the extent to which basic ecosystem properties of the foodweb (habitat size and productivity levels) explain variation in the its metrics of stability.  This project will critically inform our understanding of best-practice stability measures for food web analysis.

Proposed by Elizabeth Forbes, EEMB Trainee, in September 2015

Active Quarters:

  • Winter 2016, Elizabeth Forbes and Lilla Bartko