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Ecological community integration increases with added trophic complexity

January 1, 2008

The existence of functional biological organization at the level of multi-species communities has long been contested in ecology and evolutionary biology. I found that adding a trophic level to simulated ecological communities enhanced their ability to compete at the community level, increasing the likelihood of one community forcing all or most species in a second community to extinction. Community-level identity emerged within systems of interacting ecological networks, while competitive ability at the community level was enhanced by intense within-community selection pressure. These results suggest a reassessment of the nature of biological organization above the level of species, indicating that the drive toward biological integration, so prominent throughout the history of life, might extend to multi-species communities.

Publication Year 2008
Title Ecological community integration increases with added trophic complexity
DOI 10.1016/j.ecocom.2007.10.004
Authors Christopher K. Wright
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Complexity
Index ID 70031949
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center