Faculté des sciences

On the structural stability of mutualistic systems

Rohr, Rudolf P. ; Saavedra, Serguei ; Bascompte, Jordi

In: Science, 2014, vol. 345, no. 6195, p. 1253497

In theoretical ecology, traditional studies based on dynamical stability and numerical simulations have not found a unified answer to the effect of network architecture on community persistence. Here, we introduce a mathematical framework based on the concept of structural stability to explain such a disparity of results. We investigated the range of conditions necessary for the stable... More

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    Summary
    In theoretical ecology, traditional studies based on dynamical stability and numerical simulations have not found a unified answer to the effect of network architecture on community persistence. Here, we introduce a mathematical framework based on the concept of structural stability to explain such a disparity of results. We investigated the range of conditions necessary for the stable coexistence of all species in mutualistic systems. We show that the apparently contradictory conclusions reached by previous studies arise as a consequence of overseeing either the necessary conditions for persistence or its dependence on model parameterization. We show that observed network architectures maximize the range of conditions for species coexistence. We discuss the applicability of structural stability to study other types of interspecific interactions.