Is biodiversity maintained by food-web complexity?-the adaptive food-web hypothesis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


How do diverse species coexist in the complex networks of prey-predator interactions in nature? While most theoretical models predict that complex food webs do not persist, recent empirical studies have revealed the very complex structure of natural food webs. This discrepancy between theory and observation implies that essential factors stabilizing natural food webs are lacking from previous models. This chapter reviews these studies on food web complexity and its community-level consequences. It contends that the architectural flexibility arising from foraging adaptation of consumer species is key to explaining linkage patterns and persistent mechanisms of complex food webs. A novel hypothesis is presented, which relates the complexitystability relationship to evolutionarily history of the community.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAquatic Food Webs
Subtitle of host publicationAn ecosystem approach
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191713828
ISBN (Print)9780198564836
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity
  • Community ecology
  • Complexitystability relationship
  • Evolutionary processes
  • Food web complexity
  • Predator-prey interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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