Biodiversity patterns in natural ecosystems are dynamically sustained by food webs, describing the feeding relations among all ecosystem compartments, including the involved animal and plants.

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While traditional descriptions of such relations have been restricted to information on the presence or absence of feeding links between compartments (binary food webs), modern descriptions have strived to add information on the quantitative flows of energy or material along such links (quantified food webs). The Advanced Systems Analysis Program and Evolution and Ecology Program are currently compiling the largest database of quantified food webs available internationally, which will comprise detailed information on feeding relations in more than 100 ecosystems. Models calibrated using this database will facilitate identifying general patterns of ecosystem resilience in response to anthropogenic threats.


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