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Relating trophic resources to community structure: a predictive index of food availability


Zupo, V and Alexander, TJ and Edgar, GJ, Relating trophic resources to community structure: a predictive index of food availability, Royal Society Open Science, 4 Article 160515. ISSN 2054-5703 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsos.160515


The abundance and the distribution of trophic resources available for consumers influence the productivity and the diversity of natural communities. Nevertheless, assessment of the actual abundance of food items available for individual trophic groups has been constrained by differences in methods and metrics used by various authors. Here we develop an index of food abundance, the framework of which can be adapted for different ecosystems. The relative available food index (RAFI) is computed by considering standard resource conditions of a habitat and the influence of various generalized anthropogenic and natural factors. RAFI was developed using published literature on food abundance and validated by comparison of predictions versus observed trophic resources across various marine sites. RAFI tables here proposed can be applied to a range of marine ecosystems for predictions of the potential abundance of food available for each trophic group, hence permitting exploration of ecological theories by focusing on the deviation from the observed to the expected.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biodiversity, production, diet, marine habitat, food webs, trophic groups, feeding guilds, abundance, resources
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
ID Code:120484
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-08-25
Last Modified:2018-05-28
Downloads:138 View Download Statistics

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