No complexity–stability relationship in empirical ecosystems - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2016

No complexity–stability relationship in empirical ecosystems


Understanding the mechanisms responsible for stability and persistence of ecosystems is one of the greatest challenges in ecology. Robert May showed that, contrary to intuition, complex randomly built ecosystems are less likely to be stable than simpler ones. Few attempts have been tried to test May's prediction empirically, and we still ignore what is the actual complexity–stability relationship in natural ecosystems. Here we perform a stability analysis of 116 quantitative food webs sampled worldwide. We find that classic descriptors of complexity (species richness, connectance and interaction strength) are not associated with stability in empirical food webs. Further analysis reveals that a correlation between the effects of predators on prey and those of prey on predators, combined with a high frequency of weak interactions, stabilize food web dynamics relative to the random expectation. We conclude that empirical food webs have several non-random properties contributing to the absence of a complexity–stability relationship.
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
ncomms12573.pdf (483.82 Ko) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Publication funded by an institution

Dates and versions

hal-01359309 , version 1 (02-09-2016)





Claire Jacquet, Charlotte Moritz, Lyne Morissette, Pierre Legagneux, François Massol, et al.. No complexity–stability relationship in empirical ecosystems. Nature Communications, 2016, 7 (7), pp.12573. ⟨10.1038/ncomms12573⟩. ⟨hal-01359309⟩
594 View
404 Download



Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More