Quantifying positional importance in food webs

A comparison of centrality indices

Ferenc Jordán, Zsófia Benedek, J. Podaní

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conservation biology should focus more on the importance rather than the rarity of species, although the definition and quantification of importance are not easy. One approach involves measuring the positional importance (e.g. centrality) of species in ecological interaction networks to provide a basis for species ranking. However, there are many centrality indices, each reflecting a particular aspect of positional importance and therefore giving a rank order of species different from those provided by alternative formulations. Thus, there is a strong need for comparing the available indices and for examining their relative merits in network analysis. In this paper, we apply 13 centrality indices to the "species" (trophic components) of methodologically comparable trophic flow networks, in order to answer the following questions: (1) What is the disagreement between different indices regarding the rank of a given species in a given network? (2) How is this disagreement in performance influenced by the choice of the network? (3) What is the overall relationship among these indices and, in particular, which are the most similar to degree (the simplest index of all, being equal to the number of links pertaining to a given node)? We compare the 13 indices based on the data of nine networks using metric and rank statistics and multivariate analysis procedures. We conclude that (1) different centrality ranks differ in each network; (2) different webs can be characterized by different relationships between ranks but there is a robust pattern of relationships among the indices, some index pairs behaving very similarly in all networks; and (3) it is the index of closeness centrality which provides a rank most similar to that based on degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-275
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Modelling
Volume205
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 10 2007

Fingerprint

multivariate analysis
food webs
food web
statistics
Biological Sciences
comparison
index
network analysis
rarity
ranking

Keywords

  • Centrality
  • Clustering
  • Food web
  • Indirect effect
  • Keystone species
  • Network analysis
  • Ordination
  • Ranking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Ecology

Cite this

Quantifying positional importance in food webs : A comparison of centrality indices. / Jordán, Ferenc; Benedek, Zsófia; Podaní, J.

In: Ecological Modelling, Vol. 205, No. 1-2, 10.07.2007, p. 270-275.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jordán, Ferenc ; Benedek, Zsófia ; Podaní, J. / Quantifying positional importance in food webs : A comparison of centrality indices. In: Ecological Modelling. 2007 ; Vol. 205, No. 1-2. pp. 270-275.
@article{9299c17568f744b5b2061a5c5023a1fd,
title = "Quantifying positional importance in food webs: A comparison of centrality indices",
abstract = "Conservation biology should focus more on the importance rather than the rarity of species, although the definition and quantification of importance are not easy. One approach involves measuring the positional importance (e.g. centrality) of species in ecological interaction networks to provide a basis for species ranking. However, there are many centrality indices, each reflecting a particular aspect of positional importance and therefore giving a rank order of species different from those provided by alternative formulations. Thus, there is a strong need for comparing the available indices and for examining their relative merits in network analysis. In this paper, we apply 13 centrality indices to the {"}species{"} (trophic components) of methodologically comparable trophic flow networks, in order to answer the following questions: (1) What is the disagreement between different indices regarding the rank of a given species in a given network? (2) How is this disagreement in performance influenced by the choice of the network? (3) What is the overall relationship among these indices and, in particular, which are the most similar to degree (the simplest index of all, being equal to the number of links pertaining to a given node)? We compare the 13 indices based on the data of nine networks using metric and rank statistics and multivariate analysis procedures. We conclude that (1) different centrality ranks differ in each network; (2) different webs can be characterized by different relationships between ranks but there is a robust pattern of relationships among the indices, some index pairs behaving very similarly in all networks; and (3) it is the index of closeness centrality which provides a rank most similar to that based on degree.",
keywords = "Centrality, Clustering, Food web, Indirect effect, Keystone species, Network analysis, Ordination, Ranking",
author = "Ferenc Jord{\'a}n and Zs{\'o}fia Benedek and J. Podan{\'i}",
year = "2007",
month = "7",
day = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.02.032",
language = "English",
volume = "205",
pages = "270--275",
journal = "Ecological Modelling",
issn = "0304-3800",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Quantifying positional importance in food webs

T2 - A comparison of centrality indices

AU - Jordán, Ferenc

AU - Benedek, Zsófia

AU - Podaní, J.

PY - 2007/7/10

Y1 - 2007/7/10

N2 - Conservation biology should focus more on the importance rather than the rarity of species, although the definition and quantification of importance are not easy. One approach involves measuring the positional importance (e.g. centrality) of species in ecological interaction networks to provide a basis for species ranking. However, there are many centrality indices, each reflecting a particular aspect of positional importance and therefore giving a rank order of species different from those provided by alternative formulations. Thus, there is a strong need for comparing the available indices and for examining their relative merits in network analysis. In this paper, we apply 13 centrality indices to the "species" (trophic components) of methodologically comparable trophic flow networks, in order to answer the following questions: (1) What is the disagreement between different indices regarding the rank of a given species in a given network? (2) How is this disagreement in performance influenced by the choice of the network? (3) What is the overall relationship among these indices and, in particular, which are the most similar to degree (the simplest index of all, being equal to the number of links pertaining to a given node)? We compare the 13 indices based on the data of nine networks using metric and rank statistics and multivariate analysis procedures. We conclude that (1) different centrality ranks differ in each network; (2) different webs can be characterized by different relationships between ranks but there is a robust pattern of relationships among the indices, some index pairs behaving very similarly in all networks; and (3) it is the index of closeness centrality which provides a rank most similar to that based on degree.

AB - Conservation biology should focus more on the importance rather than the rarity of species, although the definition and quantification of importance are not easy. One approach involves measuring the positional importance (e.g. centrality) of species in ecological interaction networks to provide a basis for species ranking. However, there are many centrality indices, each reflecting a particular aspect of positional importance and therefore giving a rank order of species different from those provided by alternative formulations. Thus, there is a strong need for comparing the available indices and for examining their relative merits in network analysis. In this paper, we apply 13 centrality indices to the "species" (trophic components) of methodologically comparable trophic flow networks, in order to answer the following questions: (1) What is the disagreement between different indices regarding the rank of a given species in a given network? (2) How is this disagreement in performance influenced by the choice of the network? (3) What is the overall relationship among these indices and, in particular, which are the most similar to degree (the simplest index of all, being equal to the number of links pertaining to a given node)? We compare the 13 indices based on the data of nine networks using metric and rank statistics and multivariate analysis procedures. We conclude that (1) different centrality ranks differ in each network; (2) different webs can be characterized by different relationships between ranks but there is a robust pattern of relationships among the indices, some index pairs behaving very similarly in all networks; and (3) it is the index of closeness centrality which provides a rank most similar to that based on degree.

KW - Centrality

KW - Clustering

KW - Food web

KW - Indirect effect

KW - Keystone species

KW - Network analysis

KW - Ordination

KW - Ranking

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=34248172968&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=34248172968&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.02.032

DO - 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.02.032

M3 - Article

VL - 205

SP - 270

EP - 275

JO - Ecological Modelling

JF - Ecological Modelling

SN - 0304-3800

IS - 1-2

ER -