Food-web complexity, meta-community complexity and community stability

A. Mougi, M. Kondoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


What allows interacting, diverse species to coexist in nature has been a central question in ecology, ever since the theoretical prediction that a complex community should be inherently unstable. Although the role of spatiality in species coexistence has been recognized, its application to more complex systems has been less explored. Here, using a meta-community model of food web, we show that meta-community complexity, measured by the number of local food webs and their connectedness, elicits a self-regulating, negative-feedback mechanism and thus stabilizes food-web dynamics. Moreover, the presence of meta-community complexity can give rise to a positive food-web complexity-stability effect. Spatiality may play a more important role in stabilizing dynamics of complex, real food webs than expected from ecological theory based on the models of simpler food webs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24478
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 13


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