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Food Webs (MPB-50)$
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Kevin S. McCann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134178

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134178.001.0001

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Adding the Ecosystem

Adding the Ecosystem

(p.189) Chapter Eleven Adding the Ecosystem
Food Webs (MPB-50)

Kevin S. McCann

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how nutrient recycling and decomposition affect the dynamics and stability of food webs. It first reviews some of the existing theory on detritus and food web dynamics before discussing the basics of a model that takes into account grazing food webs and whole ecosystems. It then describes the N-R-D (nutrient pool, resource, detritus) submodule as well as the full N-C-R-D (nutrient pool, consumer, resource, detritus) model. It also explores how detritus may act to distribute nutrients by considering a model that begets nonequilibrium dynamics. It shows that detritus tends to stabilize consumer–resource interactions relative to the purely community module (no recycling) because the detritus tends to fall out of phase with the resource–nutrient interaction. The addition of a consumer–resource incteraction to the N-R-D module, even in a closed system, eventually can drive overshoot dynamics and destabilization by increased production, coupling, or interaction strength.

Keywords:   nutrient recycling, nutrient decomposition, food webs, detritus, grazing, ecosystems, nutrients, nonequilibrium dynamics, consumer–resource interactions, interaction strength

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