The importance of interaction strength for food web dynamics and ecosystem functioning

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dc.contributor.advisor Emmerson, Mark C.
dc.contributor.author O'Gorman, Eoin J.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-27T15:06:59Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-27T15:06:59Z
dc.date.copyright 2009
dc.date.issued 2009-09
dc.date.submitted 2010-02-01
dc.identifier.citation O'Gorman, E.J. 2009. The importance of interaction strength for food web dynamics and ecosystem functioning. PhD Thesis, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/164
dc.description.abstract Global biodiversity is eroding at an alarming rate, through a combination of anthropogenic disturbance and environmental change. Ecological communities are bewildering in their complexity. Experimental ecologists strive to understand the mechanisms that drive the stability and structure of these complex communities in a bid to inform nature conservation and management. Two fields of research have had high profile success at developing theories related to these stabilising structures and testing them through controlled experimentation. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has explored the likely consequences of biodiversity loss on the functioning of natural systems and the provision of important ecosystem services. Empirical tests of BEF theory often consist of simplified laboratory and field experiments, carried out on subsets of ecological communities. Such experiments often overlook key information relating to patterns of interactions, important relationships, and fundamental ecosystem properties. The study of multi-species predator-prey interactions has also contributed much to our understanding of how complex systems are structured, particularly through the importance of indirect effects and predator suppression of prey populations. A growing number of studies describe these complex interactions in detailed food webs, which encompass all the interactions in a community. This has led to recent calls for an integration of BEF research with the comprehensive study of food web properties and patterns, to help elucidate the mechanisms that allow complex communities to persist in nature. This thesis adopts such an approach, through experimentation at Lough Hyne marine reserve, in southwest Ireland. Complex communities were allowed to develop naturally in exclusion cages, with only the diversity of top trophic levels controlled. Species removals were carried out and the resulting changes to predator-prey interactions, ecosystem functioning, food web properties, and stability were studied in detail. The findings of these experiments contribute greatly to our understanding of the stability and structure of complex natural communities. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Cork en
dc.relation.isbasedon Griffin, J.N., O'Gorman, E.J., Emmerson, M.C., Jenkins, S.R., Klein, A.M., Loreau, M. , Symstad, A.J., 2009. Biodiversity and the stability of ecosystem functioning. In: Naeem S., Bunker D., Hector A., Loreau M., Perrings C. (eds), Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and human wellbeing: an ecological and economic perspective. Oxford, Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547951.001.0001
dc.relation.isbasedon Petchey, O.L., O'Gorman. E.J., Flynn, D.F.B.. 2009. A functional guide to functional diversity measures. In: Naeem S., Bunker D., Hector A., Loreau M., Perrings C. (eds), Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and human wellbeing: an ecological and economic perspective. Oxford, Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547951.001.0001
dc.relation.isbasedon O'Gorman, E.J., Enright, R.A., Emmerson, M.C., 2008. Predator diversity enhances secondary production and decreases the likelihood of trophic cascades. Oecologia, 158, pp.557–567. doi: 10.1007/s00442-008-1165-0
dc.relation.isbasedon O'Gorman, E.J., Jacob, U., Jonsson, T., Emmerson, M.C., 2010. Interaction strength, food web topology and the relative importance of species in food webs. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79, pp.682-692. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01658.x
dc.relation.isbasedon O'Gorman, E.J., Emmerson, M.C., 2009. Perturbations to trophic interactions and the stability of complex food webs. PNAS, 106(32), pp.13393-13398. doi:10.1073/pnas.0903682106
dc.relation.uri http://library.ucc.ie/record=b1898015~S0
dc.rights © Eoin J. O'Gorman, 2009. en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ en
dc.subject Marine food webs en
dc.subject Stability en
dc.subject Body size en
dc.subject Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning en
dc.subject Predator-prey interactions en
dc.subject Ecosystem stability en
dc.subject.lcsh Marine ecology--Hyne, Lough (Ireland) en
dc.subject.lcsh Biodiversity en
dc.subject.lcsh Food chains (Ecology) en
dc.subject.lcsh Biotic communities -- Research en
dc.title The importance of interaction strength for food web dynamics and ecosystem functioning en
dc.type Doctoral thesis en
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en
dc.type.qualificationname PhD Science en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.contributor.funder Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology en
dc.description.status Not peer reviewed en
dc.internal.school Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences en


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