How trophic interaction strength depends on traits

Axel Rossberg, A. Brannstrom, Ulf Dieckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A key problem in community ecology is to understand how individual-level traits give rise to population-level trophic interactions. Here, we propose a synthetic framework based on ecological considerations to address this question systematically. We derive a general functional form for the dependence of trophic interaction coefficients on trophically relevant quantitative traits of consumers and resources. The derived expression encompasses-and thus allows a unified comparison of-several functional forms previously proposed in the literature. Furthermore, we show how a community's, potentially low-dimensional, effective trophic niche space is related to its higher-dimensional phenotypic trait space. In this manner, we give ecological meaning to the notion of the "dimensionality of trophic niche space." Our framework implies a method for directly measuring this dimensionality. We suggest a procedure for estimating the relevant parameters from empirical data and for verifying that such data matches the assumptions underlying our derivation. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.


Reaxys Database Information|

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Ecology


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