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, 6 (2), 58-60

Trophic Levels and Trophic Dynamics: A Consensus Emerging?

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Trophic Levels and Trophic Dynamics: A Consensus Emerging?

L Oksanen. Trends Ecol Evol.

Abstract

There are three clearly different views on trophic levels. The systems-ecological tradition sees trophic levels as relatively discrete and well-defined units whose interactions cannot be derived from interactions between constituent populations. The reductionist population-ecological tradition sees trophic levels as inappropriate abstractions that cannot be used in formulating predictive theories. The tradition of trophic dynamics sees the first three trophic levels of autotroph-based ecosystems as reasonable abstractions, useful in formulating predictive theories, but devoid of properties that could not be directly extrapolated from those of constituent populations. Recent literature suggests that the first two schools are converging towards the viewpoints of the third, though the latter has also been modified by the interaction.

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