The Nature and Consequences of Indirect Effects in Ecological Communities

The Nature and Consequences of Indirect Effects in Ecological Communities Indirect effects occur when the impact of one species on another requires the presence of a third species. They can arise in two general ways: through linked chains of direct interactions, and when a species changes the interactions among species. Indirect effects have been uncovered largely by experimental studies that have monitored the response of many species and discovered "unexpected results," although some studies have looked for specific indirect effects predicted from simple models. The characteristics of such approaches make it likely that the many indirect effects remain uncovered, but the appli­ cation of techniques such as path analysis may reduce this problem. Determin­ istic theory indicates that indirect effects should often be important, although stochastic models need exploration. Simulation models indicate that some indirect effects may stabilize multi-species assemblages. Five simple types of indirect effects have been regularly demonstrated in nature: exploitative com­ petition, trophic cascades, apparent competition, indirect mutualism, and in­ teraction modifications. Detailed experimental investigations of natural com­ munities have yielded complicated effects. Indirect effects have the potential to affect evolutionary patterns, but empirical examples are limited. Future directions in the study of indirect effects include developing techniques to estimate interaction strength in dynamic models, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Annual Reviews

The Nature and Consequences of Indirect Effects in Ecological Communities

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1994 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0066-4162
DOI
10.1146/annurev.es.25.110194.002303
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Indirect effects occur when the impact of one species on another requires the presence of a third species. They can arise in two general ways: through linked chains of direct interactions, and when a species changes the interactions among species. Indirect effects have been uncovered largely by experimental studies that have monitored the response of many species and discovered "unexpected results," although some studies have looked for specific indirect effects predicted from simple models. The characteristics of such approaches make it likely that the many indirect effects remain uncovered, but the appli­ cation of techniques such as path analysis may reduce this problem. Determin­ istic theory indicates that indirect effects should often be important, although stochastic models need exploration. Simulation models indicate that some indirect effects may stabilize multi-species assemblages. Five simple types of indirect effects have been regularly demonstrated in nature: exploitative com­ petition, trophic cascades, apparent competition, indirect mutualism, and in­ teraction modifications. Detailed experimental investigations of natural com­ munities have yielded complicated effects. Indirect effects have the potential to affect evolutionary patterns, but empirical examples are limited. Future directions in the study of indirect effects include developing techniques to estimate interaction strength in dynamic models,

Journal

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and SystematicsAnnual Reviews

Published: Nov 1, 1994

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