Connecting the Dots: How to Build a Food Web from Scratch


Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, December 09 2009, Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Prof. Stefano Allesina, University of Chicago


Understanding the main forces shaping the topology of food webs (networks depicting who eats whom in an ecosystem) is a central problem in ecology. This problem has been typically investigated using simple probabilistic models, in which species are connected to each other following simple rules. I review recent progress in food web models, with an emphasis on model selection. I discuss two cases: one in which species are grouped according to their trophic role, the other in which the relations among body sizes determine the topology of the network.