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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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Food Webs as Complex Adaptive Systems

Food Webs as Complex Adaptive Systems

(p.201) Chapter Twelve Food Webs as Complex Adaptive Systems
Food Webs (MPB-50)

Kevin S. McCann

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines some of the potential empirical signatures of instability in complex adaptive food webs. It first considers the role of adaptive behavior on food web topology, ecosystem size, and interaction strength before discussing the implications of this behavior for ecosystem dynamics and stability. It then analyzes the results of empirical investigations of Canadian Shield lake trout food webs and how human influences and ecosystems coupled in space may drive biomass pyramids, potentially leading to species loss. It also explores the tendency of subsidies, through human impacts, to homogenize natural ecosytems and concludes by assessing some of the changing conditions that are being driven by humans and how these may change ecosystems.

Keywords:   food webs, adaptive behavior, ecosystem size, interaction strength, ecosystem dynamics, ecosystem stability, Canadian Shield, lake trout, ecosystems, subsidies

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