Comparing community response indices in aquatic food web models
Aquatic food web models
Aquatic ecosystems face several major challenges from the introduction and invasion of species, to overfishing. In order to better manage these situations, we need predictive models, where diverse scenarios can be simulated and tested. One key challenge to address is how to quantify the relationships between single-species disturbances and their multispecies effects. Mapping the spread of direct and indirect effects in food webs helps to link species to communities. Since food webs are complex networks of interactions, it is typically not easy to make predictions, so modelling and simulation may help to reveal general patterns. In food web simulations, one can quantify the effects of local perturbations on other species, i.e., community response. This may provide information about the relative importance of individual species and it is also useful to assess the vulnerability of the whole community to local changes. However, community response can be measured in several ways and various response functions give different results. In order to better understand their similarities and differences, we present a comparative study on a reasonable set of community response functions in food web simulations. These results contribute to build more predictive, multi-species models for systems-based conservation and management.
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