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Avoiding artifacts when varying the number of species in ecological network models
  • Pablo Moisset de Espanes,
  • Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto,
  • José Soto-San Martín
Pablo Moisset de Espanes
Universidad de Chile
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Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto
Universidad Mayor
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José Soto-San Martín
Universidad de Chile
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Abstract

Ecological theory recognizes the importance of the variety of species for maintaining the functioning of ecosystems and their derived services. We assert that when studying the effects of shifts in biodiversity levels using mathematical models, their dynamics must be sensitive to the variety of species traits but not to raw species numbers, a property that we call scale--invariance. We present a testing procedure for verifying scale--invariance of ecological network models ---with or without trait adaptation--- expressed as ODEs. Furthermore, we applied our test to several influential models used for evaluating biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. In most of the surveyed studies the equations failed our test. This raises doubts about the validity of previous results and calls for revisiting the theory derived from these studies. Our results foster the creation of artifact--free models, a necessary step towards building a more robust theory of biodiversity--driven ecosystem functioning.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

04 Feb 2021Submitted to Ecology Letters
05 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
05 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
02 Mar 20211st Revision Received
03 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
03 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
08 Mar 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
21 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
06 Apr 20212nd Revision Received
07 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
07 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
08 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Accept