An explanatory model for food-web structure and evolution

Axel Rossberg, H. Matsuda, T. Amemiya, K. Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Food webs are networks describing who is eating whom in an ecological community. By now it is clear that many aspects of food-web structure are reproducible across diverse habitats, yet little is known about the driving force behind this structure. Evolutionary and population dynamical mechanisms have been considered. We propose a model for the evolutionary dynamics of food-web topology and show that it accurately reproduces observed food-web characteristics in the steady state. It is based on the observation that most consumers are larger than their resource species and the hypothesis that speciation and extinction rates decrease with increasing body mass. Results give strong support to the evolutionary hypothesis. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Complexity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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