Interaction strength combinations and the overfishing of a marine food web

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Jordi BascompteEnric Sala

Abstract

The stability of ecological communities largely depends on the strength of interactions between predators and their prey. Here we show that these interaction strengths are structured nonrandomly in a large Caribbean marine food web. Specifically, the cooccurrence of strong interactions on two consecutive levels of food chains occurs less frequently than expected by chance. Even when they occur, these strongly interacting chains are accompanied by strong omnivory more often than expected by chance. By using a food web model, we show that these interaction strength combinations reduce the likelihood of trophic cascades after the overfishing of top predators. However, fishing selectively removes predators that are overrepresented in strongly interacting chains. Hence, the potential for strong community-wide effects remains a threat.

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Citations

Mar 13, 2008·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Eric L BerlowNeo D Martinez
Aug 13, 2008·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Jeremy B C Jackson
Oct 22, 2008·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Michio Kondoh
Dec 26, 2008·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Michele CasiniGeorgs Kornilovs
Dec 31, 2008·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Eric L BerlowUlrich Brose
Dec 19, 2009·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Joel E CohenDaniel C Reuman
Jul 27, 2012·Journal of the Royal Society, Interface·Justin D YeakelPaul L Koch
Sep 9, 2006·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Katja EnbergEsa Ranta
May 8, 2008·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Michele CasiniGeorgs Kornilovs
Mar 20, 2008·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Loren McClenachan, Andrew B Cooper
Dec 25, 2009·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Nancy L ShackellWilliam C Leggett
Feb 5, 2010·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Jason M K RipSonia Fawcett
Nov 26, 2010·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Eoin J O'GormanOwen L Petchey
May 10, 2013·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Justin D YeakelPaul L Koch
May 20, 2009·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Jordi Bascompte, Daniel B Stouffer
Mar 30, 2011·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Jordi Moya-Laraño
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Mar 31, 2007·Science·Ransom A MyersCharles H Peterson
Jul 25, 2009·Science·Jordi Bascompte
Mar 24, 2012·Science·Daniel B StoufferJordi Bascompte
Feb 29, 2008·PLoS Biology·Nancy Knowlton, Jeremy B C Jackson
Feb 28, 2008·PloS One·Stuart A SandinEnric Sala
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Feb 13, 2016·Nature Communications·Luis J GilarranzJordi Bascompte

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