Complexity–stability relations in generalized food-web models with realistic parameters
Sebastian J. Plitzko, Barbara Drossel and Christian Guill
Journal of Theoretical Biology 306, 7-14, 2012
We investigate the relation between complexity and stability in model food webs by evaluating the local stability of fixed points of the population dynamics using the recently developed method of generalized modeling. We first determine general conditions that lead to positive complexity–stability relations. These include (1) high resource abundance and (2) strong density-dependent mortality effects that limit consumer populations. The parameters that constitute a generalized model have clear biological meanings. In this work, emphasis is placed on using realistic values for these generalized parameters. They are derived from conventional ordinary differential equations which are commonly used to describe population dynamics and for which empirical parameter estimates exist. We find that the empirically supported generalized parameters fall in regions of the parameter space that allow for a positive relation between food-web complexity and stability.