Ecological community integration increases with added trophic complexity

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10 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Complexity
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dynamical systems
  • Ecological organization
  • Levels of selection
  • Lotka-Volterra
  • Metacommunities
  • Predator-prey

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