Recent investigations on the structure of complex networks have provided interesting results for ecologists. Being inspired by these studies, we analyse a well-defined set of small model food webs. The extinction probability caused by internal Lotka-Volterra dynamics is compared to the position of species. Simulations have revealed that some global properties of these food webs (e.g. the homogeneity of connectedness) and the positions of species therein (e.g. interaction pattern) make them prone to modelled biotic extinction caused by population dynamical effects. We found that: (a) homogeneity in the connectedness structure increases the probability of extinction events; (b) in addition to the number of interactions, their orientations also influence the future of species in a web. Since species in characteristic network positions are prone to extinction, results could also be interpreted as describing the properties of preferred states of food webs during community assembly. Our results may contribute to understanding the intimate relationship between pattern and process in ecology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Modelling and Simulation
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Applied Mathematics