Biology remains the most extensive and complex information network on the planet. This chapter examines the nature of biological networks, including their inherent stability and risks to their resilience. After a general introduction exploring networks and biological systems, this chapter reviews (1) the evolution of biological networks; (2) principles that govern biological networks; and (3) measures of stability, productivity, and efficiency in biological networks. The authors use examples from food (energy) transfer in rainforests and coral reefs, as well as the creation of a biological network through colonization in Darwin’s Finches of the Galapagos Islands. Research shows that while large biological networks are inherently unstable, some are more stable than others.
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About the Author
Sonia Kleindorfer, Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity and Conservation, School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, South Australia
James G. Mitchell, Head of the School of Biological Sciences , Flinders University, South Australia
Table of Contents
Network Structure: What Determines Food Web Stability?
Conclusions: Biology and Business