PerspectiveEcology

Food Web Ecology: Playing Jenga and Beyond

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 68-71
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096112

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Summary

De Ruiter et al. argue that the old notion of a food web as a static arch, with a critical keystone species (whose removal would cause collapse of the arch), is outdated. Instead, they see ecosystems as dynamic, both spatially and temporally, and explain how describing them in this way reveals the basis of unexpected stabilities that occur in response to even large environmental perturbations.