Abrupt community transitions and cyclic evolutionary dynamics in complex food webs
2013 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, E-ISSN 1095-8541, Vol. 337, 181-189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Understanding the emergence and maintenance of biodiversity ranks among the most fundamental challenges in evolutionary ecology. While processes of community assembly have frequently been analyzed from an ecological perspective, their evolutionary dimensions have so far received less attention. To elucidate the eco-evolutionary processes underlying the long-term build-up and potential collapse of community diversity, here we develop and examine an individual-based model describing coevolutionary dynamics driven by trophic interactions and interference competition, of a pair of quantitative traits determining predator and prey niches. Our results demonstrate the (1) emergence of communities with multiple trophic levels, shown here for the first time for stochastic models with linear functional responses, and (2) intermittent and cyclic evolutionary transitions between two alternative community states. In particular, our results indicate that the interplay of ecological and evolutionary dynamics often results in extinction cascades that remove the entire trophic level of consumers from a community. Finally, we show the (3) robustness of our results under variations of model assumptions, underscoring that processes of consumer collapse and subsequent rebound could be important elements of understanding biodiversity dynamics in natural communities.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academia Press, 2013. Vol. 337, 181-189 p.
Individual-based model, Extinction cascade, Trophic-level evolution, Consumer collapse
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83747DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.08.003ISI: 000325955000018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-83747DiVA: diva2:677864