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Original Research Papers

Food web complexity enhances community stability and climate regulation in a geophysiological model

Author:

Stephan P. Harding

Schumacher College, T he Old Postern, Dartington, GB
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Abstract

A central debate in community ecology concerns the relationship between the complexity of communities and their stability. How does the richness of food web structures affect their resistance and resilience to perturbation? Most mathematical models of communities have shown that stability declines as complexity increases but so far, modellers have not included the material environment in their calculations. Here an otherwise conventional community ecology model is described, which includes feedback between the biota and their climate. This “geophysiological” model is stable in the sense that it resists perturbation. The more complex the community included in the model, the greater its stability in terms of both resistance to perturbation and rate of response to perturbation. This is a realistic way to model the naturalworld because organisms cannot avoid feedback to and from their material environment.

How to Cite: Harding, S.P., 1999. Food web complexity enhances community stability and climate regulation in a geophysiological model. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 51(4), pp.815–829. DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v51i4.16489
  Published on 01 Jan 1999
 Accepted on 25 Feb 1999            Submitted on 7 Aug 1998

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