This chapter argues that two major deficiencies of food web theory to date are the almost mutually exclusive treatment of detail and resolution in food web models and the lack of tangible timescales in mapping theory to empirical research on food webs. It highlights some recent advances in food web theory that represent the first steps towards integrating detail at the individual and population level with resolution at the whole system level and suggests that future progress depends on continued integration of these historically separate lines of investigation. Finally, a working conceptual model for integrating detail and resolution to make predictions about the links between population and whole system persistence has been suggested. Despite recent advances in the integration of structural and dynamic approaches to food webs, few theoretical approaches satisfactorily combine detail and resolution to identify links between population dynamics and the stability of system structure. Population models analyze population persistence as a function of individual properties, while models of larger food webs evaluate the resilience of whole systems of interacting species as a function of observed structural properties of entire food webs. The analysis of persistence is achieved in both cases via the same methods-by evaluating the sign and magnitude of the real components of eigenvalues from the determinant of an n x n community matrix, where n is the number of species included in the model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)