The project is divided into three main parts:
- In the connection with the structure of food webs we will tackle the problem of finding cordless cycles in the collection of real food webs without reference to the importance of interactions between species. We will establish the frequency distribution of these cordless cycles regarding their size and making a comparison of these distributions with null models. Secondly, we will develop a similar approach for quantitative food webs (with information on the interaction between species). Finally, we will compare the distributions of cordless cycles in natural and perturbed habitats.
- Study of the dynamical stability of food webs with
regard to patterns of cordless cycles and to the inverse pyramid of
habitat. Discovering the factors that promote stability in natural
ecosystems is a long standing issue in ecology. In this part of the
project we will explore two aspects that link the structure of food webs
and their dynamical properties. Firstly, we will study the consequences
of cordless cycles in food webs. Secondly, we will incorporate the
spatial structure of food webs in dynamical models and analyze their
long term stability. Here we will concentrate specifically on the
so-called “inverse pyramid of habitat”.
- Technology transfer: the aim of this part is to develop
an "R" package for the analysis and visualization of biological
networks, ecology, food-web graphs, niche-overlap graphs, cordless cycles, inverse pyramid of habitat, dynamical stability
This project will provide fundamental information on the factors affecting the structure and dynamics of ecological networks. It will have a potential to offer key information on the management of ecosystems, with the aim of preserving their stability. In addition, the applied part of the project will be useful for researchers working on biological networks.
Website of the project
Ongoing project, PhD thesis, duration 3 years (2011 - 2014).