Section: Ecology
Topic: Biology of interactions, Ecology, Computer sciences

Diagnosis of planktonic trophic network dynamics with sharp qualitative changes

10.24072/pcjournal.417 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e58.

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Trophic interaction networks are notoriously difficult to understand and to diagnose (i.e., to identify contrasted network functioning regimes). Such ecological networks have many direct and indirect connections between species, and these connections are not static but often vary over time. These topological changes, as opposed to a dynamic on a static (frozen) network, can be triggered by natural forcings (e.g., seasons) and/or by human influences (e.g., nutrient or pollution inputs). Aquatic trophic networks are especially dynamic and versatile, thus suggesting new approaches for identifying network structures and functioning in a comprehensive manner.

In this study, a qualitative model was devised for this purpose. Applying discrete-event models from theoretical computer science, a mechanistic and qualitative model was developed that allowed computation of the exhaustive dynamics of a given trophic network and its environment. Once the model definition is assumed, it provides all possible trajectories of the network from a chosen initial state. In a rigorous and analytical approach, for the first time, we validated the model on one theoretical and two observed trajectories recorded at freshwater stations in the La Rochelle region (Western France). The model appears to be easy to build and intuitive, and it provides additional relevant trajectories to the expert community. We hope this formal approach will open a new avenue in identifying and predicting trophic (and non-trophic) ecological networks.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.417
Type: Research article
Keywords: Interaction network; Freshwater ecosystem; Qualitative model; Discrete-event model; Plankton

Gaucherel, Cedric 1; Fayolle, Stolian 1; Savelli, Raphael 2; Philippine, Olivier 3; Pommereau, Franck 4; Dupuy, Christine 2

1 AMAP - INRAE, CIRAD, CNRS, IRD, Montpellier University, Montpellier, France
2 LIENSs, UMRi 7266 La Rochelle University – CNRS, La Rochelle, France
3 UNIMA, Union des marais de Charente-Maritime, Périgny, France
4 IBISC, Evry, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
     author = {Gaucherel, Cedric and Fayolle, Stolian and Savelli, Raphael and Philippine, Olivier and Pommereau, Franck and Dupuy, Christine},
     title = {Diagnosis of planktonic trophic network dynamics with sharp qualitative changes},
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Gaucherel, Cedric; Fayolle, Stolian; Savelli, Raphael; Philippine, Olivier; Pommereau, Franck; Dupuy, Christine. Diagnosis of planktonic trophic network dynamics with sharp qualitative changes. Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article  no. e58. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.417.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.ecology.100545

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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