Ecological networks and their fragility.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Darwin used the metaphor of a 'tangled bank' to describe the complex interactions between species. Those interactions are varied: they can be antagonistic ones involving predation, herbivory and parasitism, or mutualistic ones, such as those involving the pollination of flowers by insects. Moreover, the metaphor hints that the interactions may be complex to the point of being impossible to understand. All interactions can be visualized as ecological networks, in which species are linked together, either directly or indirectly through intermediate species. Ecological networks, although complex, have well defined patterns that both illuminate the ecological mechanisms underlying them and promise a better understanding of the relationship between complexity and ecological stability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Montoya, JM; Pimm, SL; Solé, RV

Published Date

  • July 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 442 / 7100

Start / End Page

  • 259 - 264

PubMed ID

  • 16855581

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nature04927


  • eng