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VOLUME 88, NUMBER 22 P H Y S I C A L R E V I E W L E T T E R S 3 JUNE 2002 Robust Patterns in Food Web Structure

Summary: VOLUME 88, NUMBER 22 P H Y S I C A L R E V I E W L E T T E R S 3 JUNE 2002
Robust Patterns in Food Web Structure
Juan Camacho,1,2 Roger Guimerà,1,3 and Luís A. Nunes Amaral1
Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Departament de Física (Física Estadística), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Departament d'Enginyeria Química, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 43006 Tarragona, Spain
(Received 11 December 2001; published 16 May 2002)
We analyze the properties of seven community food webs from a variety of environments, including
freshwater, marine-freshwater interfaces, and terrestrial environments. We uncover quantitative unifying
patterns that describe the properties of the diverse trophic webs considered and suggest that statisti-
cal physics concepts such as scaling and universality may be useful in the description of ecosystems.
Specifically, we find that several quantities characterizing these diverse food webs obey functional forms
that are universal across the different environments considered. The empirical results are in remarkable
agreement with the analytical solution of a recently proposed model for food webs.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.228102 PACS numbers: 87.23.­n, 05.40.­a, 64.60.Cn
In natural ecosystems species are connected through
trophic relationships [1,2] defining intricate networks


Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University


Collections: Physics; Biology and Medicine