Although it was first published twenty years ago, Stuart Pimm's Food Webs remains the clearest introduction to the study of food webs. Reviewing various hypotheses in the light of theoretical and empirical evidence, Pimm shows that even the most complex food webs follow certain patterns and that those patterns are shaped by a limited number of biological processes, such as population dynamics and energy flow. Pimm provides a variety of mathematical tools for unravelling these patterns and processes, and demonstrates their application through concrete examples. For this edition, he has written a new foreword covering recent developments in the study of food webs and demonstrates their continuing importance to conservation biology.
Conventions and definitions
1.1What and why?
2Models and their local stablity
Appendix 2A: Taylor's expansion
Appendix 2B: An example of calculating eigenvalues
Appendix 2C: Jacobian matrices
3Stability: other definitions
3.3Species deletion stability
3.4Stability in stochastic environments
3.5Other stability criteria
3.6Summary: models and their stabilities—Is there a best buy?
4Food web compexity I: theoretical results
4.2Bounds on food web complexity: local stability
4.3Complexity and stability under large perturbations
4.4Summary of theoretical results
5Food web complexity II: empirical results
6The length of food chains
6.2Hypothesis A: Energy flow
6.3Hypothesis B: Size and other design constraints
6.4Hypothesis C: Optimal foraging; why are food chains so long?
6.5Hypothesis D: Dynamical contraints
Appendix 6A: Drawing inferences about food web attributes
7The patterns of omnivory
7.1Models of omnivory
7.2Testing the hypothesis
8.1Reasons for a compartmented design
8.2Testing the hypotheses: habits as compartments
8.3Testing the hypotheses: compartments within habitats
9.2The number of species of prey that a species exploits and the
number of species of predator it suffers
9.3Interval and non-interval food webs
10Food web design: causes and consequences