Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Peter Zee

Second Advisor

Ana Pavel

Third Advisor

Jason Hoeksema

Relational Format



Theoretical studies of ecological food webs have allowed ecologists to remove the constraints of specific location and timescales from their study of ecological communities; food webs are generally complex and thus empirical study is difficult. Further, this theoretical approach allows ecologists to compare ecological processes and outcomes across any possible food web structures. However, these simulated communities are only as useful as the model from which they were constructed. Modifying existing considerations in these models, and generating new ones, are the jobs of theoretical ecologists that seek to achieve the shared goal of a majority of simulations: representation of real natural systems. However, there are many different models that have been developed, all by individuals with varying approaches to achieving biologically realistic results. The difficulty of comparing and combining every single model is not a feat any one study or model can be expected to accomplish. Instead, the paired studies presented here seek to examine two ubiquitous features of ecological communities that are often omitted from food web models: stage-structured interactions, and networks of varied ecological interaction types. By generating the results of these differing models, the effects of combining approaches on the assembly and stability of communities can be examined.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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