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Ecosystem stability: A result from an abstract simulation

Authors
Journal
Journal of Theoretical Biology
0022-5193
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
45
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0022-5193(74)90123-4
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology

Abstract

Abstract An abstract model of an ecosystem is presented which incorporates both population dynamic and energy flow concepts and attempts to avoid the simple assumptions of the Lotka-Volterra or mass-action types of equation. The model allows simulation of very complex foodwebs, involving all trophic levels, with 50 or more species. The results indicate unusual stability features for such models; for systems with a range of species numbers, multiple stable points (or limits cycles) are found in which all species survive. Various views of the relationship between stability and species diversity are reconciled by the following conclusion of the study. “With increasing species numbers in an ecosystem similar to that described here, there is an increase in stable points due to compensating adjustments with increasing food web complexity, however stability declines, in the sense that the equilibrium points become less aggregated in the vector field.”

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