Food webs have now been addressed in empirical and theoretical research for more than 50 years. Yet, even elementary foundational issues are still hotly debated. One difficulty is that a multitude of processes need to be taken into account to understand the patterns found empirically in the structure of food webs and communities.
Food Webs and Biodiversity develops a fresh, comprehensive perspective on food webs. Mechanistic explanations for several known macroecological patterns are derived from a few fundamental concepts, which are quantitatively linked to field-observables. An argument is developed that food webs will often be the key to understanding patterns of biodiversity at community level.
Food Webs and Biodiversity is a highly topical book which will be of interest to a wide ranging audience, including not only graduate students and practitioners in community and conservation ecology but also the complex-systems research community as well as mathematicians and physicists interested in the theory of networks.
List of Symbols xix
Part I Preliminaries
1 Introduction 3
2 Models and Theories 7
Part II Elements of Food-Web Models
3 Some Basic Concepts 13
4 Energy and Biomass Budgets 19
5 Allometric Scaling Relationships Between Body Size and Physiological Rates 25
6 Population Dynamics 29
7 From Trophic Interactions to Trophic Link Strengths 45
8 Tropic Niche Space and Trophic Traits 51
9 Community Turnover and Evolution 77
Part III Mechanisms and Processes
10 The Population-Dynamical Matching Model 81
11 Basic Characterizations of Link-Strength Distributions 87
12 Diet Partitioning 103
13 Multivariate Link-Strength Distributions and Phylogenetic Patterns 117
14 A Framework Theory for Community Assembly 137
15 Competition in Food Webs 165
16 Mean-Field Theory of Resource-Mediated Competition 181
17 Resource-Mediated Competition and Assembly 193
18 Random-Matrix Competition Theory 221
19 Species Richness, Size and Trophic Level 247
20 Consumer-Mediated Competition and Assembly 255
21 Food Chains and Size Spectra 271
Part IV Implications
22 Structure and Dynamics of PDMM Model Communities 297
23 Scientific Implications 323
24 Conservation Implications 331
Appendix A 337
Axel G. Rossberg obtained an M.A. in theoretical physics at the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in complex-system physics at the University of Bayreuth. Since 2003 he is specializing on food-web theory and community ecology. To foster applications in the management context he recently joined UK's Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas). He is also Senior Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast and Honorary Lecturer at University of East Anglia, and serves on the editorial board of The American Naturalist.
"This is a comprehensive work outlining a large array of very novel and potentially game-changing ideas in food web ecology."
- Ken Haste Andersen, Technical University of Denmark
"I believe that this will be a landmark book in community ecology [...] it presents a well-established and consistent mathematical theory of food-webs. It is testable in many ways and the author finds remarkable agreements between predictions and reality."
- Géza Meszéna, Eötvös University, Budapest