PARASITES GOVERN THE TOPOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD WEBS: A CONCLUSION FROM NETWORK ANALYSIS

J.L. CHEN, W.J. ZHANG
2020 Applied Ecology and Environmental Research  
Parasitism has been ignored in most of the food web research. However, it has been found to play an important role in maintaining food web structure. In order to present further evidences and findings on the functionality of parasitism in food webs, this study used the methodology of network science and meta-analysis to analyze and compare topological properties of seven high-resolution marine and estuarine food webs that include free-living species only and all species with parasites
more » ... parasites respectively. The results showed that parasites significantly changed the species structure in the food webs. The number and proportion of top species declined and that of intermediate species increased once parasites were included in the food webs. The number of links and cycles, the connectance and link density of food webs significantly increased, among which most links are related to parasites and the complexity of food webs was thus enhanced. Parasitism increased food web spacing and overall clustering coefficient and food webs were made more closely connected. Parasitism was proved to have significant influence on the relative importance of species, and even to make some species crucial species in terms of food webs.
doi:10.15666/aeer/1802_34193437 fatcat:fda36bkprrhvtp3m65llmscu3i