Persistence of complex food webs in metacommunities

Gesa A. Boehme and Thilo Gross

Metacommunity theory is considered a promising approach for explaining species diversity and food web complexity. Recently Pillai et al. proposed a simple modeling framework for the dynamics of food webs at the metacommunity level. Here, we employ this framework to compute general conditions for the persistence of complex food webs in metacommunities. The persistence conditions found depend on the connectivity of the resource patches and the structure of the assembled food web, thus linking the underlying spatial patch-network and the species interaction network. We find that the persistence of omnivores is more likely when it is feeding on (a) prey on low trophic levels, and (b) prey on similar trophic levels.

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