University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Sainsbury Laboratory Seminars > Beyond symmetry and asymmetry: Complexity and the stability of ecological networks

Beyond symmetry and asymmetry: Complexity and the stability of ecological networks

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Helen Mawdsley.

In ecology, interactions are important. That is why ecologists use network models to study communities and ecosystems. It is only a small step to recognise that some interactions will be more important than others. Yet, until recently, in ecological theory the strength of interactions has been largely neglected. In this talk I will show how observations of the energy flow in ecosystems reveal characteristic patterns in interaction strength underlying system stability. Through the quantification of feedbacks, closed chains of interactions, these patterns shed light on the much debated relation between complexity and stability in ecosystems.

Neutel A. M. & Thorne, M.A.S. (in prep). Interaction strength, not network complexity, governs ecosystem stability. Neutel, A. M., Heesterbeek, J. A. P. & De Ruiter, P. C. (2002). Stability in real food webs: Weak links in long loops. Science 296, 1120-1123.

This talk is part of the Sainsbury Laboratory Seminars series.

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