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Ecosystem status and functioning: searching for rules of thumb using an intersite comparison of food-web models of Northeast Atlantic continental shelves
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2013 (English)In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, ISSN 1054-3139, E-ISSN 1095-9289, Vol. 70, no 1, 135-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This work aimed to provide a better understanding of how the structure and function of marine ecosystems and trophic control mechanisms influence their response to perturbations. Comparative analysis of Ecopath models of four Northeast Atlantic ecosystems was used to search for rules of thumb defining the similarities and differences between them. Ecosystem indicators, related to the ecology of species interactions, were derived from these models and compared. Two main questions were addressed. (i) What are the main energy pathways and mechanisms of control? (ii) Do these ecosystems exhibit the widespread and potentially stabilizing food-web structure such that top predators couple distinct energy pathways? A strong bentho-pelagic coupling operated over the Bay of Biscay Shelf, while energy reached higher trophic levels mostly through pelagic compartments, in northern areas. Zooplankton was demonstrated to be trophically important in all ecosystems, acting as a regulator of the abundance of small pelagic fish. A latitudinal pattern in flow control was highlighted by this analysis, with a significant contribution of top-down effect at higher latitudes. This top-down control of the Baltic Sea, combined with the fact that this ecosystem did not exhibit the potentially stabilizing two-channel structure, suggested a non-stable environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 70, no 1, 135-149 p.
Keyword [en]
comparative studies, Ecopath with Ecosim, ecosystem model, graphical analysis, stability, trophic structure
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87150DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fss168ISI: 000312644500012OAI: diva2:601072


Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2014-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Tomczak, Maciej Tomasz
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Stockholm Resilience Centre
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