Now that’s complex! This is a rendering of the metanetwork for the San Francisco Bay food web. The network consists of 163 nodes, each node being a guild. In total, they represent ~1,600 species of invertebrates and fish, as well as four nodes representing various types of autotrophic producers. There are 5,024 links or trophic interactions between the guilds. The dataset currently excludes birds and marine mammals. Those data are being incorporated even as I type! So, when faced with this level of complexity, how does one determine if the system is resilient, or vulnerable to the removal or addition of specific types of species, or can withstand the effects of climate change?
The figure was produced by one of my graduate students, Rachel Hertog, who has done a tremendous amount of work on this project, as well as the Dominican Republican paleocommunities. The data come almost entirely from the collections of the California Academy of Sciences, notably the Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, and the Dept. of Ichthyology.