Are large complex ecosystems more unstable? A theoretical reassessment with predator switching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Multi-species Lotka-Volterra models exhibit greater instability with an increase in diversity and/or connectance. These model systems, however, lack the likely behavior that a predator will prey more heavily on some species if other prey species decline in relative abundance. We find that stability does not depend on diversity and/or connectance in multi-species Lotka-Volterra models with this 'predator switching'. This conclusion is more consistent with several empirical observations than the classic conclusion, suggesting that large complex ecosystems in nature may be more stable than previously supposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000



  • Complexity
  • Lotka-Volterra
  • Predator switching
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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