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The stability of multitrophic communities under habitat loss / Miguel, Lurgi Rivera

Nature Communications, Volume: 10, Issue: 1

Swansea University Author: Miguel, Lurgi Rivera

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Abstract

Habitat loss (HL) affects species and their interactions, ultimately altering community dynamics. Yet, a challenge for community ecology is to understand how communities with multiple interaction types—hybrid communities—respond to HL prior to species extinctions. To this end, we develop a model to...

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Published in: Nature Communications
ISSN: 2041-1723
Published: Nature Publishing Group 2019
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa50520
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Abstract: Habitat loss (HL) affects species and their interactions, ultimately altering community dynamics. Yet, a challenge for community ecology is to understand how communities with multiple interaction types—hybrid communities—respond to HL prior to species extinctions. To this end, we develop a model to investigate the response of hybrid terrestrial communities to two types of HL: random and contiguous. Our model reveals changes in stability—temporal variability in population abundances—that are dependent on the spatial configuration of HL. Our findings highlight that habitat area determines the variability of populations via changes in the distribution of species interaction strengths. The divergent responses of communities to random and contiguous HL result from different constraints imposed on individuals’ mobility, impacting diversity and network structure in the random case, and destabilising communities by increasing interaction strength in the contiguous case. Analysis of intermediate HL suggests a gradual transition between the two extreme cases.
Keywords: habitat loss; food webs; ecological networks; individual-based models; community stability; spatial stability
Issue: 1