A food-web approach to assess the effects of disturbance on ecosystem structure, function and stability

  • John C. Moore
  • Peter C. De Ruiter


Numerous field and laboratory studies have demonstrated that disturbances that alter the densities and physiologies of organisms or change the species make-up of communities affect ecosystems in ways that would be characterized as ‘de-stabilizing’. Modelling studies have also focused on stability, but in a well-defined mathematical sense. Conspicuously absent from the scientific dialogue has been an operational definition of stability that has both empirical and mathematical meaning. Disturbance is central to the concept of stability. Research on the effects of disturbance on ecosystems has either focused on how the disturbance alters aspects of ecosystem structure (e.g. species richness and diversity, food-web connectance, and trophic structure) or ecosystem processes (e.g. nitrogen dynamics and decomposition). Remarkably, few studies have attempted to integrate structure and processes


Interaction Strength Local Stability Trophic Position Capita Effect Community Matrix 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Moore
  • Peter C. De Ruiter

There are no affiliations available

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