Niche Hierarchy: Structure, Organization, and Assembly in Natural Systems

Niche Hierarchy: Structure, Organization, and Assembly in Natural Systems Journal of Complex Networks (2018) 6, 155 doi: 10.1093/comnet/cnx011 Advance Access Publication on 28 July 2017 Book Review Reviewed by Guido Caldarelli Corresponding author. Email: Guido.Caldarelli@imtlucca.it Edited by: Ernesto Estrada The book ‘Niche Hierarchy: Structure, Organization and Assembly in Natural Systems’ by George Sugihara is a nice attempt of providing to ecology grounded theoretical bases in Complex Network theory. Among the tools provided by the latter, the author recognizes some ‘motifs’ as the building blocks of ecological webs. By providing an exhaustive atlas of food-webs, the author is able to show that (empirical) regularities emerge across several food-webs, as diverse as the niches they describe: such an evidence is, then, assumed to correspond to general, common, theoretical principles driving their evolution. As a remarkable example, the link between topological regularities and dynamical stability may be cited. A second example comes from algebraic topology: the author is able to show that species niches may be thought of as polyhedra whose vertices correspond to resources. Another example, which justifies the title, comes from the correspondence between functional hierarchy, structural hierarchy and species distribution: tree-like behaviour of species, seemingly mimicking an ‘algebraic compactification’, is related to resources optimization. From a slightly-different perspective, the book also represents a very nice overview of motifs appli- cation in network theory. This part of the theory has been only partially developed in the recent years despite its importance as a basis of community detection. The mathematical part is self-consistent and all relevant formulas are always followed by a thorough justification, by allowing this book to be imagined as a manual for didactics as well. Written as a traditional physics book, i.e. moving from data to models, it is accessible also to non- specialists with a generic mathematical background. © The authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/comnet/article-abstract/6/1/155/4054137 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Complex Networks Oxford University Press

Niche Hierarchy: Structure, Organization, and Assembly in Natural Systems

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2051-1310
eISSN
2051-1329
D.O.I.
10.1093/comnet/cnx011
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Abstract

Journal of Complex Networks (2018) 6, 155 doi: 10.1093/comnet/cnx011 Advance Access Publication on 28 July 2017 Book Review Reviewed by Guido Caldarelli Corresponding author. Email: Guido.Caldarelli@imtlucca.it Edited by: Ernesto Estrada The book ‘Niche Hierarchy: Structure, Organization and Assembly in Natural Systems’ by George Sugihara is a nice attempt of providing to ecology grounded theoretical bases in Complex Network theory. Among the tools provided by the latter, the author recognizes some ‘motifs’ as the building blocks of ecological webs. By providing an exhaustive atlas of food-webs, the author is able to show that (empirical) regularities emerge across several food-webs, as diverse as the niches they describe: such an evidence is, then, assumed to correspond to general, common, theoretical principles driving their evolution. As a remarkable example, the link between topological regularities and dynamical stability may be cited. A second example comes from algebraic topology: the author is able to show that species niches may be thought of as polyhedra whose vertices correspond to resources. Another example, which justifies the title, comes from the correspondence between functional hierarchy, structural hierarchy and species distribution: tree-like behaviour of species, seemingly mimicking an ‘algebraic compactification’, is related to resources optimization. From a slightly-different perspective, the book also represents a very nice overview of motifs appli- cation in network theory. This part of the theory has been only partially developed in the recent years despite its importance as a basis of community detection. The mathematical part is self-consistent and all relevant formulas are always followed by a thorough justification, by allowing this book to be imagined as a manual for didactics as well. Written as a traditional physics book, i.e. moving from data to models, it is accessible also to non- specialists with a generic mathematical background. © The authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/comnet/article-abstract/6/1/155/4054137 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018

Journal

Journal of Complex NetworksOxford University Press

Published: Feb 1, 2018

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