Does food web structure regulate resilience to nutrient perturbations?
The structure of a food web, specifically the strength and number of interactions, influence the network’s ability to absorb shocks. We’re using a combination of whole-ecosystem manipulations, historical community data from restored lakes and food web models to identify food web configurations that are more resilient to nutrient pulses such as large storm events. This summer we added bigmouth buffalo at ambient, harvested, and no fish densities to experimental ponds at the ISU Horticulture Farm. Half of the ponds were pulsed with nutrients to test how the various simple food webs respond to a shock perturbation. Follow the #ResilientBuffalo hashtag on Twitter to find out more!