Food Webs and Biodiversity: Foundations, Models, Data

Food webs have now been addressed in empirical and theoretical research for more than 50 years. Yet, even elementary foundational issues are still hotly debated. One difficulty is that a multitude of processes need to be taken into account to understand the patterns found empirically in the structure of food webs and communities. Food Webs and Biodiversity develops a fresh, comprehensive perspective on food webs. Mechanistic explanations for several known macroecological patterns are derived from a few fundamental concepts, which are quantitatively linked to field-observables. An argument is developed that food webs will often be the key to understanding patterns of biodiversity at community level. Key Features: * Predicts generic characteristics of ecological communities in invasion-extirpation equilibrium. * Generalizes the theory of competition to food webs with arbitrary topologies. * Presents a new, testable quantitative theory for the mechanisms determining species richness in food webs, and other new results. * Written by an internationally respected expert in the field. With global warming and other pressures on ecosystems rising, understanding and protecting biodiversity is a cause of international concern. This highly topical book will be of interest to a wide ranging audience, including not only graduate students and practitioners in community and conservation ecology but also the complex-systems research community as well as mathematicians and physicists interested in the theory of networks. This is a comprehensive work outlining a large array of very novel and potentially game-changing ideas in food web ecology. Ken Haste Andersen, Technical University of Denmark I believe that this will be a landmark book in community ecology it presents a well-established and consistent mathematical theory of food-webs. It is testable in many ways and the author finds remarkable agreements between predictions and reality. Geza Meszena, Eotvos University, Budapest