Multivariate comparison of trophic networks of grassland ecosystems

  • O. Y. Buzhdygan Freie Universität Berlin
  • S. S. Rudenko Chernivtsi National University
Keywords: ecological network analysis, , trophic networks, multivariate analysis, grassland ecosystems, system-wide network properties


This article compares 13 network properties of food webs of 31 Ukrainian grasslands. The properties are: network size N, trophic link number L, trophic classes Cl, system connectance C, link density LD, total system throughflow TST, network cycling FCI, ascendency AS, developmental capacity DC, indirect effects dominance IE, system aggradation AI, system synergism SI, and mutualism MI. Our results show these properties are highly correlated and can be aggregated into the three latent factors. The first factor includes N, TST, AS, DC, SI, L, and LD, where network size N appears to be a central defining variable. The second latent factor includes FCI, AI, and Cl, and is driven by indirect effects dominance IE.  The third factor includes mutualism MI and connectance C, the last being the driving variable. Network Synergism SI is negatively correlated with the other network properties, while all others are positively intercorrelated. Network connectance appears to be a scale invariant property, while link density is highly sensitive to network size. Our data also show that network mutualism MI is more tied to the network complexity than simply to system scale or number of feeding links.


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Buzhdygan, O., & Rudenko, S. (2016). Multivariate comparison of trophic networks of grassland ecosystems. Ecology and Noospherology, 27(1-2), 49-71.