The emergent interactions that govern biodiversity change

  • James S. Clark, C. Lane Scher, Margaret Swift
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003852117

The emergent interactions that govern biodiversity change

Photo by S N Pattenden on Unsplash

Photo by S N Pattenden on Unsplash

What is it about?

Predicting how ecological communities respond to change requires an understanding of the direct effects of environment and the indirect effects that emerge when environment is propagated through food webs of interacting species. A probabilistic framework for these environment–species interactions can guide management that has to weigh the utility of efforts to protect critical habitat (or not) against the risk for species that respond through the responses of others.

Why is it important?

Results show how environmental effects become nonlinear responses, how they can be estimated from data, and the insight they provide on the relative importance of direct and indirect (through other species) responses to change. Because these effects include uncertainty from the model and data, they can guide management that has to weigh the utility of efforts to protect critical habitat (or not) against the risk for species that respond through the responses of others.

Perspectives

james clark
Duke University

This paper lays out generalized joint attribution modeling (GJAM) applied to food web dynamics. It shows that species interactions can be quantified from time series data, together with the environmental effects on those interactions.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003852117

The following have contributed to this page: james clark