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Chapter 8: The Role Of Stochastic Simula... > Structure And Dynamics In Food Web M... - Pg. 169

The Role of Stochastic Simulations to Extend Food Web Analyses netics (how genetic variance influences ecosystem functioning; Huges et al., 2008). Traditional mod- eling methods, focusing on macroscopic patterns and searching for general laws, seem to be weak in several respects. Primarily, they need to be improved in terms of predictability and accuracy. Also, the inherent stochasticity and variability, as well as the large-scale patterns produced by local rules, are important features that should be more thoroughly investigated. Moreover, even if the importance of these aspects is recognized, modeling approaches have not been developed to form new conceptual frameworks (for example, stochastic processes are modeled by deterministic equations with added random noise). Then, I suggest how adopting BlenX, a process algebra-based language, is ecologically reason- able, as it can capture the inherent variability of biological systems, as opposed to ODE-based simulations that are based on a homogeneous First, the additional information displayed by weighted food webs is used to extract novel patterns in the distribution of weak and strong trophic interactions towards the trophic chain. Then, I emphasize how knowing the distribution of weak links in food webs can help in defining trajectories of environmental sustainability and formulating policies for halting the loss of bio- diversity. Finally, by applying a process-algebra based method, I illustrate an alternative approach that makes use of stochastic dynamics within the framework of food web analysis. Simulations represent a step ahead for characterizing the rela- tive importance of species in food webs (Proulx et al., 2005; Quince et al., 2005; Eklöf & Ebenman, 2006; Berlow et al., 2008). STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS IN FOOD WEB MODELS