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Trends Ecol Evol. 1994 Apr;9(4):136-41. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(94)90178-3.

Making connections in food webs.

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Philip Warren is at the Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK S10 2UQ.


Patterns in food web structure have provided an important, though contentious, testing ground for ideas about the population dynamics and energetics of multispecies systems. One of the most debated of these patterns is the apparent decrease in food web connectance as the number of species in a web Increases. Several contrasting mechanisms that might determine food web connectance have been suggested. These mechanisms, in combination with new, food web data, suggest that the conventional pattern, and explanations for it, may well be open to dispute. The true nature of the relationship between connectance and species number has implications for the explanation of other web patterns and for theories of food web structure, but a general explanation remains elusive.

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