Are networks of trophic interactions sufficient for understanding the dynamics of multi-trophic communities? Analysis of a tri-trophic insect food-web time-series
Kawatsu, K.; Ushio, M.; van Veen, F.J.F.; Kondoh, M.
Ecology Letters 24(3): 543-552
ISSN/ISBN: 1461-0248 PMID: 33439500 DOI: 10.1111/ele.13672
Resource-consumer interactions are considered a major driving force of population and community dynamics. However, species also interact in many non-trophic and indirect ways and it is currently not known to what extent the dynamic coupling of species corresponds to the distribution of trophic links. Here, using a 10-year data set of monthly observations of a 40-species tri-trophic insect community and nonlinear time series analysis, we compare the occurrence and strengths of both the trophic and dynamic interactions in the insect community. The matching between observed trophic and dynamic interactions provides evidence that population dynamic interactions reflect resource-consumer interactions in the many-species community. However, the presence of a trophic interaction does not always correspond to a detectable dynamic interaction especially for top-down effects. Moreover a considerable proportion of dynamic interactions are not attributable to direct trophic interactions, suggesting the unignorable role of non-trophic and indirect interactions as co-drivers of community dynamics.