Predation and food web structure along a habitat duration gradient

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Abstract

Food web statistics showed a complex relationship with measures of habitat variability in temporary ponds. Connectance was highest in short-duration, highly variable habitats, and lowest in habitats of intermediate duration and variability. The number of links and links/taxon increased with increasing duration. Much of the variation in the food web statistics could be explained by a strong linear relationship between number of taxa and number of links/taxon and a quadratic relationship of taxa number with the number of links. However, after accounting for this variation, there remained a relationship of duration with links and links/taxon. The relationship between the food web statistics and duration corresponded to experimental evaluations of predation in these habitats that showed an increasing importance of predation in long-duration habitats. The fund web statistics, however, missed threshold effects in the relationship between predation and habitat duration. Differences in food web statistics before and after a regional drought could be explained by a decrease in taxa number after the drought. Connectance was the most robust statistic in relation to taxa number, but was also the least sensitive to changes in habitat characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume110
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997

Keywords

  • Connectance
  • Food webs
  • Habitat variability
  • Predation
  • Temporary ponds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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