|Project:||Role of food web structures|
First, long term behaviour of ecosystems with increasing complexity (see figures) will be investigated, using a chemostat model and simple hyperbolic functional responses. The models will be analysed using bifurcation analysis, with the throughput rate and food density in the supply as bifurcation parameters. This will be done using advanced computer software (AUTO, LOCBIF, CONTENT).
Food chains of increasing complexity, to be modelled in a chemostat system model.
Later on, systems in batch cultures will be examined. These systems are open for energy and closed for mass. Real ecosystems can often be regarded as batch-alike systems. For this reason, a batch-culture model has a more evident connection to real ecosystems than a chemostat model. In a batch system, mass conservation requires an appropriate description of nutrient cycling. Decomposers are added to the model. In the advanced DEB-theory, the nutrient uptake and release of an organism is governed by a number of Synthesising Units (SU's). SU can be regarded as enzyme complexes that link substrate concentrations in the medium to assimilation and cellular processes to reserve density. In the course of the study batch cultures of increasing complexity will be modelled.
During the research, the coupling of the results to their ecological meaning has a high priority. It will be attempted to maintain a high level of co-operation with experimental ecologists.