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Community Structure and Food Webs
Understanding the relative importance of environmental variation to community and food-web structure in order to predict ecosystem functioning in a changing landscape.
Freshwater systems are important components of the landscape that provide diverse ecosystem services, including climate regulation, water quality regulation, and land-water coupling of nutrient cycles, each of which is beneficial to the development of human society. These benefits depend on the structure and function of these ecosystems, including habitats varying in several characteristics depending on natural of anthropogenic determinants. Their functioning depends on the aquatic food webs that shape the short and long-term nutrient cycle and energy flow. Food webs are networks of species interacting to differing degrees that control the fluxes of energy and matter within the ecosystem. Herein, we aim to understand how large-scale environmental variables determine community and food web structure in freshwater systems. An improved understanding of the relative importance of environmental variation to community and food-web structure would allow better predictability of ecosystem functioning in a changing landscape.
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