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Small World Patterns in Food Webs

  • Jose M. Montoya
  • Ricard V. Solé
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    The analysis of some species-rich, well-defined food webs shows that they display the so called Small World behavior shared by a number of disparate complex systems. The three systems analysed (Ythan estuary web, Silwood web and the Little Rock lake web) have different levels of taxonomic resolution, but all of them involve high clustering and short path lengths between species. Additionally, the distribution of connections $P(k)$ is skewed in all the webs analysed and shows a power-law behavior $P(k) \propto k^{-\gamma}$ in two cases (with $\gamma \approx 1$). These features suggest that communities might be self-organized in such a way that high homeostasis to perturbations (with short transient times to recovery) would be at work. The consequences for ecological theory are outlined.

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    Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 00-10-059.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:00-10-059
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