Ecological community integration increases with added trophic complexity

Ecological Complexity



The existence of functional biological organization at the level of multi-species communities has long been contested in ecology and evolutionary biology. I found that adding a trophic level to simulated ecological communities enhanced their ability to compete at the community level, increasing the likelihood of one community forcing all or most species in a second community to extinction. Community-level identity emerged within systems of interacting ecological networks, while competitive ability at the community level was enhanced by intense within-community selection pressure. These results suggest a reassessment of the nature of biological organization above the level of species, indicating that the drive toward biological integration, so prominent throughout the history of life, might extend to multi-species communities.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ecological community integration increases with added trophic complexity
Series title Ecological Complexity
DOI 10.1016/j.ecocom.2007.10.004
Volume 5
Issue 2
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 6 p.
First page 140
Last page 145
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