Structural stability: concepts, methods and applications


Ecological networks—how species interactions are organized within ecological communities—are highly structured, which has motivated generations of ecologists to elucidate how these structures affect species coexistence. Unfortunately, we still do not have a clear and consistent answer about the link between network structure and species coexistence. A possible explanation is that most of the studies do not take into account that the environment affects both network structure and species coexistence due to the multidimensional and changing nature of environmental factors. In this context, the structural stability approach provides a theoretical framework grounded on biological realism to quantitatively link network structure, species coexistence, and environmental factors. I begin by an overview of the heated debates in the study of ecological networks. Then I introduce the theoretical framework and computational tools of the structural stability approach in a nutshell. Then I show the empirical applications in different ecological questions across a broad range of ecological systems. Overall, the structural stability approach provides a new perspective to understand how biodiversity is generated and maintained in ecological communities.

Biodiversity Science (in Chinese)
Chuliang Song
Chuliang Song

I am a theoretical ecologist driven by the curiosity of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.

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