The robustness of ecosystems to the species loss of community

Qing Cai, Jiming LIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


To study the robustness of ecosystems is crucial to promote the sustainable development of human society. This paper aims to analyze the robustness of ecosystems from an interesting viewpoint of the species loss of community. Unlike the existing definitions, we first introduce the notion of a community as a population of species belonging to the same trophic level. We then put forward a novel multiobjective optimization model which can be utilized to discover community structures from arbitrary unipartite networks. Because an ecosystem is commonly represented as a multipartite network, we further introduce a mechanism of competition among species whereby a multipartite network is transformed into a unipartite signed network without loss of species interaction information. Finally, we examine three strategies to test the robustness of an ecosystem. Our experiments indicate that ecosystems are robust to random species loss of community but fragile to target ones. We also investigate the relationships between the robustness of an ecosystem and that of its community composed network both to species loss. Our experiments indicate that the robustness analysis of a large-scale ecosystem to species loss may be akin to that of its community composed network which is usually small in size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35904
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General


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