A species’ traits define the role it plays in the ecosystem in which it lives, according to a study by researchers at Linköping University. New methods can make it easier to predict the ecological role that a species will play when it is introduced, by accident or design, into a new habitat.
How is an ecosystem affected when one or several species die out, or a new species invades and disturbs the ecological system? In order to predict how complex ecosystems will react to disturbances, it is important to understand how species influence each other. Theoretical ecology approaches such ecological questions with the aid of mathematical models. A new theoretical ecology study, published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters, focuses on marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, fjords and the open sea. These marine systems contain several habitats of great ecological and economic importance. The scientific analysis of these habitats is, however, complicated because of the number and variety of species that call them home. MORE