Community Ecology

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Is the role of trophic control larger in a stressed ecosystem?

  • F. JordánEmail author
Open Access


Macroscopic ecosystem studies often complete our knowledge based on population-level experiments and models. In this paper, the changed control of ecosystem functioning is reported by analyzing the structure of the energy flow network of a tidal marsh community (Crystal River, Florida). The positional importance of trophic components is characterized by a graph theoretical approach. Then, positional importance of points is compared to the magnitude of fitting carbon flows (i.e., the importance of links) and the congruency is expressed in percents. These results are presented for both an unperturbed (control) and a thermally stressed creek ecosystem of the river. The comparison of average congruency values for the two communities suggests that, first, trophic control may be stronger in the stressed community and, second, the reliability of carbon flows is also higher in the stressed ecosystem.


Community control Crystal River Ecosystem stress Keystone species Trophic flow network 


  1. Abrams, P.A., B.A. Menge, G.G. Mittelbach, D.A. Spiller and P. Yodzis. 1996. The role of indirect effects in food webs. In: Polis, G.A. and Winemiller, K.O. (eds), Food Webs: Integration of Patterns and Dynamics. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 371–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baird, D. and R.E. Ulanowicz. 1989. The seasonal dynamics of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Ecol. Monogr. 59: 329–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bond, W.J. 1994. Keystone species. In: Schulze, E.D. and Mooney, H.A. (eds.), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function. Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 237–253.Google Scholar
  4. Briand, F. 1983. Environmental control of food web structure. Ecology 64: 253–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, J.E. 1978. Food Webs and Niche Space. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J.E., R.A. Beaver, S.H. Cousins, D.L. De Angelis, L. Goldwasser, K.L. Heong, R.D. Holt, A.J. Kohn, J.H. Lawton, N.D. Martinez, R. O’Malley, L.M. Page, B.C. Patten, S.L. Pimm, G.A. Polis, M. Rejmánek, T.W. Schoener, K. Schoenly, W.G. Sprules, J.M. Teal, R.E. Ulanowicz, P.H. Warren, H.M. Wilbur and P. Yodzis. 1993. Improving food webs. Ecology 74: 252–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Ruiter, P.C., A.-M. Neutel and J.C. Moore. 1996. Energetics and stability in belowground food webs. In: Polis, G.A. and Winemiller, K.O. (eds.), Food Webs: Integration of Patterns and Dynamics. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 201–210.Google Scholar
  8. Goldwasser, L. and J. Roughgarden. 1993. Construction and analysis of a large Caribbean food web. Ecology 74: 1216–1233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harary, F. 1961. Who eats whom? Gen. Syst. 6: 41–44.Google Scholar
  10. Hunter, M.D. and P.W. Price. 1992. Playing chutes and ladders: heterogeneity and the relative roles of bottom-up and top-down forces in natural communities. Ecology 73: 724–732.Google Scholar
  11. Jordán, F. 2000. Seasonal changes in the positional importance of components in the trophic flow network of the Chesapeake Bay. J. Marine Syst. (in press).Google Scholar
  12. Jordán, F. and I. Moinar. 1999. Reliable flows and preferred patterns in food webs. Evol. Ecol. Res. 1: 591–609.Google Scholar
  13. Jordán, F., A. Takács-Sánta and I. Molnár. 1999. A reliability theoretical quest for keystones. Oikos 86: 453–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Margalef, R. 1968. Perspectives in Ecological Theory. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  15. Martinez, N.D. 1991. Artifacts or attributes? Effects of resolution on the Little Rock Lake food web. Ecol. Monogr. 61: 367–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. May, R.M. 1973. Stability and Complexity in Model Ecosystems. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  17. Menge, B.A. and J.P. Sutherland. 1976. Species diversity gradients: synthesis of the roles of predation, competition, and temporal heterogeneity. Am. Nat. 110: 351–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mills, L.S., M.L. Soulé and D.F. Doak. 1993. The keystone-species concept in ecology and conservation. BioScience 43: 219–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Paine, R.T. 1969. A note on trophic complexity and community stability. Am. Nat. 103: 91–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Paine, R.T. 1980. Food webs: linkage, interaction strength and community infrastructure. J. Anim. Ecol. 49: 667–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Paine, R.T. 1992. Food-web analysis through field measurement of per capita interaction strength. Nature 355: 73–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pimm, S.L. 1982. Food Webs. Chapman and Hall, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Polis, G.A. 1991. Complex trophic interactions in deserts: an empirical critique of food web theory. Am. Nat. 138: 123–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Porter, K.G. 1996. Integrating the microbial loop and the classic food chain into a realistic planktonic food web. In: Polis, G.A. and Winemiller, K.O. (eds.). Food Webs: Integration of Patterns and Dynamics. Chapman and Hall, London. pp. 51–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Power, M. E., D. Tilman, J.A. Estes, B.A. Menge, W.J. Bond, L.S. Mills, G. Daily, J.C. Castilla, J. Lubchenco and R.T. Paine. 1996. Challenges in the quest for keystones. BioScience 46: 609–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schoener, T.W. 1983. Field experiments on interspecific competition. Am. Nat. 122: 240–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ulanowicz, R.E. 1983. Identifying the structure of cycling in ecosystems. Math. Biosci. 65: 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ulanowicz, R.E. 1984. Community measures of marine food networks and their possible applications. In: Fasham, M.J.R. (ed.), Flows of Energy and Materials in Marine Ecosystems. Plenum Press, London, pp. 23–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ulanowicz, R.E. 1986. Growth and Development: Ecosystems Phenomenology. Springer, Berlin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ulanowicz, R.E. 1996. Trophic flow networks as indicators of ecosystem stress. In: Polis, G.A. and Winemiller, K.O. (eds.), Food Webs: Integration of Patterns and Dynamics. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 358–368.Google Scholar
  31. Ulanowicz, R.E. and C.J. Puccia. 1990. Mixed trophic impacts in ecosystems. Coenoses 5: 7–16.Google Scholar
  32. Ulanowicz, R.E. and D. Baird. 1999. Nutrient controls on ecosystem dynamics: the Chesapeake mesohaline community. J. Marine Syst. 19: 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Warren, P.H. 1989. Spatial and temporal variation in the structure of a freshwater food web. Oikos 55: 299–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Winemiller, K.O. 1996. Factors driving temporal and spatial variation in aquatic floodplain food webs. In: Polis, G.A. and Winemiller, K.O. (eds.). Food Webs: Integration of Patterns and Dynamics. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 298–312.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2000

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeneticsEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations