Role of network analysis in comparative ecosystem ecology of estuaries
Estuaries are excellent ecosystems for testing the veracity of the inferences of ecological network analysis for three reasons. First, more network analyses have been conducted on estuaries than any other kind of ecosystem. Second, estuarine environments are often stressed by natural and anthropogenic forcings. These conditions allow hypotheses of response to stress to be formulated and tested. Finally, sampling of estuaries has often been extensive, such that reasonable food webs can be constructed under different conditions of stress. This chapter reviews studies that incorporate these three elements, and assesses how efficacious analysis output variables are at describing the effects of stress. Output variables index a range of trophic dynamic properties from populations to entire food webs. The assessment is structured in the context of this range.
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