Food-web evolution in multivariate niche spaces

Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Daisuke Takahashi

Daisuke Takahashi

The evolution of species interactions is central to understanding the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Improved insights into the underlying processes will shed light on how nature maintains its magnificent diversity of coexisting organisms.

Although there are many types of interactions between species, trophic interactions between predators and their prey have particularly important evolutionary consequences, as these not only determine the viability of prey, but also affect interference and resource competition among predators. In this project, I will focus on the evolution of trophic interactions in multivariate niche spaces. The emerging properties of the resultant food webs, such as species number, connectance, as well as several other empirically measurable topological features of natural trophic networks will be studied.

An individual-based model will be developed in which individuals are characterized by heritable multivariate traits describing the niches in which they are available as prey and in which they act as predators. Daisuke will also numerically analyze this model and compare the predicted evolutionary outcomes with empirical food-web statistics.

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Last edited: 24 March 2016

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