Food web theory suggests ecology may be governed by general rules

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 8, 2000 -- Chemistry has the periodic table of the elements, physics has the law of gravity, and biology has natural selection. According to new research published by San Francisco State University scientists in the March 9 issue of Nature, ecology may also one day get its own set of natural laws.

Applying a simple set of rules to a new food web model, the researchers revealed deep similarities between highly diverse ecosystems, suggesting the rules could be generalized.

"What makes this so compelling is that our model shows there are fundamental regularities in nature where ecologists thought there were none," said author Neo Martinez, an assistant biology professor who has made a career of studying food webs. "Having an accurate model of food webs gives ecologists a valuable tool for predicting the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystems as different as oceans and deserts."

Working from their assertion that complex food webs arise from species having a simple pecking order of "who eats whom," Martinez and adjunct biology professor Richard Williams devised a theoretical model of food web organization based on two simple rules: one, that species higher up in the pecking order tend to eat lower-ordered species; and two, that if a species eats more than one species in the pecking order, it must also eat the species in between. While the basis of the pecking order is not yet known, similar rules are played out daily in nature: for example, a predator such as a wolf eats large and small herbivores such as deer and mice. Following the rules, it also eats intermediate herbivores, such as rabbits.

Called the "niche model," it is named for the theory's premise that each trophic species (a group of animal types that share the same predators and prey, such as some lizards) fits a specific niche based on what it eats and, in turn, what eats it.


Contact: Merrik Bush-Pirkle
San Francisco State University

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. New research supports theory that indirect transmission of chronic wasting disease
2. Rockefeller University scientists take on controversial vibration theory of smell
3. Jan. 23-26 conference in Oakland, Calif., to discuss aneuploid theory of cancer
4. Researchers show evolutionary theory adds up
5. Princeton paleontologist produces evidence for new theory on dinosaur extinction
6. Study provides new insights into emerging theory of gene regulation
7. New theory of cell death proposed in UCSB Alzheimers research
8. New research challenges prevailing theory of microbial biodiversity
9. Scientist proposes new theory of aging
10. Cooperation between unrelated male lizards adds a new wrinkle to evolutionary theory
11. Organelles discovery challenges theory, could alter approach to disease treatment

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/23/2017)...  The general public,s help is being enlisted in what,s thought to ... and on the human body –and are believed to affect health.  ... The Microbiome Immunity Project is the largest ... the gut. The project's goal is to help advance scientific knowledge of ... ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead ... National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in ... the boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. , June 23, 2017  IBM (NYSE: ... dairy research, today announced a new collaboration using next-generation ... chances that the global milk supply is impacted by ... Cornell University has become the newest academic institution to ... a food safety initiative that includes IBM Research, Mars, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially ... cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture ... sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators ... ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading ... around the world, is giving back to cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting ... Now through October 31, shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... MD (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... ... $1.7M to develop new applications of its Nanobind DNA/RNA extraction technology . ... and nanostructured silica on the surface and that can be used for a ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: