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Editorial Manager(tm) for Theoretical Ecology Manuscript Draft

Summary: Editorial Manager(tm) for Theoretical Ecology
Manuscript Draft
Manuscript Number: THEE-20R1
Title: Network structure, predator-prey modules, and stability in large food webs
Article Type: Original Research
Keywords: Predator-prey; complexity/stability; food webs; sign-stability; weak interactions
Corresponding Author: Professor Stefano Allesina,
Corresponding Author's Institution: University of Michigan
First Author: Stefano Allesina
Order of Authors: Stefano Allesina; Mercedes Pascual
Abstract: Large, complex networks of ecological interactions with random structure tend invariably to
instability. This mathematical relationship between complexity and local stability ignited a debate that has
populated ecological literature for more than three decades. Here we show that, when species interact as
predators and prey, systems as complex as the ones observed in nature can still be stable. Moreover,
stability is highly robust to perturbations of interaction strength, and is largely a property of structure driven
by predator-prey loops with the stability of these small modules cascading into that of the whole network.
These results apply to empirical food webs and models that mimic the structure of natural systems as well.
These findings are also robust to the inclusion of other types of ecological links, such as mutualism and
interference competition, as long as consumer-resource interactions predominate. These considerations
underscore the influence of food web structure on ecological dynamics and challenge the current view of


Source: Allesina, Stefano - Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine