Habitat loss and biodiversity impacts in an evolution ecosystem

Haoqi Liu of Xinjiang University, China, used modeling to investigate how habitat loss affects biodiversity when evolutionary dynamics are stable.


Biodiversity, the physical basis of existence and evolution, is being increasingly damaged by habitat loss. Evolution and habitat loss all affect the stability of biodiversity. However, for many species, models investigate the effects of only one of these. In addition, habitat loss is always dynamic in time and heterogeneous in space. Similarly, habitat loss models almost only include one of these conditions. In this study, we used modeling to investigate how habitat loss affects biodiversity when evolutionary dynamics are stable.


We used a spatial food-web model on a randomly varying landscape to establish a rich ecosystem of coexisting morphs through gradual evolution [1]. Using global forest data we built one dynamic and non-random habitat loss model, and one random habitat loss model. We introduced the habitat loss models into the ecosystem to obtain the results.

Results and Conclusions

The morphs with a very large body size and belonging to a very high initial trophic level will become extinct more quickly. If habitat loss is not very serious, the earliest extinct morphs will have a higher ratio of biomass loss, and the morphs with lower initial trophic level and smaller body size will have a higher ratio of biomass. If, however, habitat loss is very serious, for the morphs with larger body size and higher initial trophic level, the ratio of biomass loss will increase more quickly and gradually over the others.


[1] Brännström A, Loeuille N, Loreau M, Dieckmann U (2011). Emergence and maintenance of biodiversity in an evolutionary food-web model. Theor. Ecol., 4, 467-478.


Cang Hui, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Åke Brännström, Evolution and Ecology Program, IIASA

Ulf Dieckmann, Evolution and Ecology Program, IIASA


Haoqi Liu of Xinjiang University, China, is a Chinese citizen and was funded by IIASA’s Chinese National Member Organization during the SA-YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

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Last edited: 21 April 2015


Ulf Dieckmann

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