The dynamics of multispecies, multi-life-stage models of aquatic food webs
We investigated the dynamics of models of aquatic food webs using stability analysis methods previously applied to other types of food web models. Our models expanded traditional Lotka-Volterra models of predator-prey interactions in several ways. We added life history structure to these models in order to investigate its effects. Life history omnivory is different life history stages of a species feeding in trophically different positions in a food web. Such a species might appear omnivorous, integrating across all stages, but the individual stage might not be. Other important additions to the basic models included stock-recruitment relationships between adults and young and food-dependent maturation rates for early life history stages. Complex models of multispecies interactions were built from basic ones by adding new features sequentially. Our analysis revealed five major features of our multispecies, multi-life-stage models. Omnivory reduces stability, as it does in food web models without life history structure. However, life history omnivory reduces stability much less than single life stage omnivory does. Stock recruitment relationships affect the likelihood of finding stable models. If the maturation rate of young varies with their food supply, the chance of finding stable models decreases. Finally, predation loops of the type A eats B, B eats A, or A eats B, B eats C, C eats A greatly reduce model stability. We present both biological and mathematical explanations for these findings. We also discuss their implications for management of marine resources. © 1987.
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