Biodiversity ecosystem functioning in food webs
||Biodiversity ecosystem functioning in food webs|
||SNIC Medium Compute|
||Tomas Jonsson <email@example.com>|
||Högskolan i Skövde|
||2019-08-29 – 2020-09-01|
Ecosystems worldwide are under increasing anthropogenic stress, resulting in widespread declines of many species and ultimately species extinctions. Not neglecting the direct commercial, cultural and/or esthetical value that these species may represent, a pressing question is how species loss will affect the remaining ecosystem. More specifically, does decreasing species diversity, due to (increasing) species extinctions worldwide, risk having severe negative effects on ecosystem processes responsible for important ecosystem services? This is a two-fold question that has received much attention in biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) research over the last decades. Firstly, species diversity may affect the level of ecosystem processes, and secondly, species diversity may affect variability (and thus reliability) of ecosystem processes. To adress this, BEF research has so far typically focused on a single trophic level in relatively species poor communities, and on the relation between functioning and species richness per se. However, ecosystem functions such as primary production and consumption, and predation are driven by trophic interactions in multi-trophic, species rich communities.
In this project we aim to increase the relevance of BEF theory by considering the effects of multi-trophic structure and predator species richness on ecosystem functioning. More specifically, we will formulate dynamical multispecies models of ecological communities, varying in trophic structure, species richness and predator characteristics, and analyse how these factors interact to affect both level (or flow) and stability of a suit of ecosystem functions in food webs. Realistic multi-trophic structure will be achieved by having at least three levels and including omnivory (such as intraguild predation), and most importantly, for each level of species richness the degree of predator complementarity will be varied (but keeping interaction connectedness constant).
We anticipate that this project will significantly advance our understanding of ecosystem functioning in multitrophic communities by provide insight into functions such as predation and the service of biological control provided by this function.