Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 496235
Title Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes
Author(s) Kuiper, J.J.; Altena, Cassandra Van; Ruiter, P.C. De; Gerven, L.P.A. Van; Janse, J.H.; Mooij, W.M.
Source Nature Communications 6 (2015). - ISSN 2041-1723
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms8727
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Biometris (WU MAT)
PE&RC
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Abstract

A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience.

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