No complexity–stability relationship in empirical ecosystems

Abstract : Understanding the mechanisms responsible for stability and persistence of ecosystems is one of the greatest challenges in ecology. Robert May showed that, contrary to intuition, complex randomly built ecosystems are less likely to be stable than simpler ones. Few attempts have been tried to test May's prediction empirically, and we still ignore what is the actual complexity–stability relationship in natural ecosystems. Here we perform a stability analysis of 116 quantitative food webs sampled worldwide. We find that classic descriptors of complexity (species richness, connectance and interaction strength) are not associated with stability in empirical food webs. Further analysis reveals that a correlation between the effects of predators on prey and those of prey on predators, combined with a high frequency of weak interactions, stabilize food web dynamics relative to the random expectation. We conclude that empirical food webs have several non-random properties contributing to the absence of a complexity–stability relationship.
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [32 references]  Display  Hide  Download

https://hal-univ-perp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01359309
Contributor : Olivier Savoyat <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 2, 2016 - 10:48:40 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 15, 2019 - 1:19:54 AM
Long-term archiving on : Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 2:11:19 PM

File

ncomms12573.pdf
Publication funded by an institution

Licence


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Identifiers

Citation

Claire Jacquet, Charlotte Moritz, Lyne Morissette, Pierre Legagneux, François Massol, et al.. No complexity–stability relationship in empirical ecosystems. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, pp.12573. ⟨10.1038/ncomms12573⟩. ⟨hal-01359309⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

420

Files downloads

273