Food Webs pp 371-395 | Cite as

The Role of Indirect Effects in Food Webs

  • Peter A. Abrams
  • Bruce A. Menge
  • Gary G. Mittelbach
  • David A. Spiller
  • Peter Yodzis


Consider the following questions: (1) If we manipulate one species in a food web will this change the population of species that neither eat nor are eaten by the manipulated species? (2) If removing species A in food web 1 causes a 20% decrease in species B, can we assume that a similar decrease of B will occur if we remove species A in web 2, which contains a number of species not found in web 1? The answer to these sorts of questions depend a great deal on the importance of indirect interactions in food webs. If the effect of one species on the density of another tends to diminish with their separation in the food web (measured by number of feeding links in the shortest path connecting the two species), then it may be possible to ignore at least some indirect effects. Under this scenario where affects are attenuated by distance in the food web, we would expect either prey or predators of the focal species to be most affected by a change in the rate of harvest of the focal species.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Abrams
  • Bruce A. Menge
  • Gary G. Mittelbach
  • David A. Spiller
  • Peter Yodzis

There are no affiliations available

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