|Integrating ecosystem engineering and food webs
In: Oikos (København). Munksgaard: Copenhagen. ISSN 0030-1299; e-ISSN 1600-0706, meer
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- Innovative coastal technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate
- Sanders, D.
- Jones, C.G.
- Thébault, E.
- Bouma, T.J., meer
- van der Heide, T.
- van Belzen, J., meer
- Barot, S.
Ecosystem engineering, the physical modification of the environment by organisms, is a common and often influential process whose significance to food web structure and dynamics is largely unknown. In the light of recent calls to expand food web studies to include non-trophic interactions, we explore how we might best integrate ecosystem engineering and food webs. We provide rationales justifying their integration and present a provisional framework identifying how ecosystem engineering can affect the nodes and links of food webs and overall organization; how trophic interactions with the engineer can affect the engineering; and how feedbacks between engineering and trophic interactions can affect food web structure and dynamics. We use a simple integrative food chain model to illustrate how feedbacks between the engineer and the food web can alter 1) engineering effects on food web dynamics, and 2) food web responses to extrinsic environmental perturbations. We identify four general challenges to integration that we argue can readily be met, and call for studies that can achieve this integration and help pave the way to a more general understanding of interaction webs in nature.