Modern models of trophic meta-communities
Thilo Gross, Korinna T. Allhoff, Bernd Blasius, Ulrich Brose, Barbara Drossel, Ashkaan K. Fahimipour, Christian Guill, Justin D. Yeakel and Fanqi Zeng
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 375, 20190455, 2020
Dispersal and foodweb dynamics have long been studied in separate models. However, over the past decades, it has become abundantly clear that there are intricate interactions between local dynamics and spatial patterns. Trophic meta-communities, i.e. meta-foodwebs, are very complex systems that exhibit complex and often counterintuitive dynamics. Over the past decade, a broad range of modelling approaches have been used to study these systems. In this paper, we review these approaches and the insights that they have revealed. We focus particularly on recent papers that study trophic interactions in spatially extensive settings and highlight the common themes that emerged in different models. There is overwhelming evidence that dispersal (and particularly intermediate levels of dispersal) benefits the maintenance of biodiversity in several different ways. Moreover, some insights have been gained into the effect of different habitat topologies, but these results also show that the exact relationships are much more complex than previously thought, highlighting the need for further research in this area.