A stochastic theory of community food webs. I. Models and aggregated data.

J. E. Cohen, C. M. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Three recently discovered quantitative empirical generalizations describe major features of the structure of community food webs: 1) a species scaling law: the mean proportions of basal, intermediate and top species remain invariant at c0.19, 0.53 and 0.29, respectively, over the range of variation in the number of species in a web; 2) a link scaling law: the mean proportions of trophic links in the categories basal-intermediate, basal-top, intermediate-intermediate, and intermediate-top remain invariant at c0.27. 0.08, 0.30 and 0.35, respectively, over the range of variation in the number of trophic links to species remains invariant at c1.86, over the range of variation in the number of species in a web. This paper presents a model, the only successful one among several attempts, in which the first 2 of these empirical generalizations can be derived as a consequence of the 3rd. The model assumes that species are ordered in a cascade or hierarchy such that a given species can prey on only those species below it and can be preyed on by only those species above it in the hierarchy.-Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-448
Number of pages28
JournalProceedings - Royal Society of London, Series B
Volume224
Issue number1237
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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