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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Network of predator–prey interactions in the MPA Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank showing the area’s seafloor in the background.

Image: Luciana Riccialdelli

Marina TI, Schloss IR, Lovrich GA, Boy CC, Bruno DO, Capitanio FL, Delpiani SM, Díaz de Astarloa JM, Fraysse C, García Alonso VA, Raya Rey A, Schejter L, Spinelli ML, Tatián M, Urteaga D, Riccialdelli L

Complex network of trophic interactions in Burdwood Bank, a sub-Antarctic oceanic marine protected area

We present the first analysis of the predator–prey network for the Marine Protected Area Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank, a sub-Antarctic area, applying a topological approach to characterize the complexity and structure of the food web, and to identify the species’ roles. Network-level properties, such as the distribution of interactions among species and the small-world pattern, allowed us to identify the ecosystem’s vulnerability and potential response to perturbations. We argue that the diversity of species, including both the benthic and pelagic habitats, is responsible for securing the connectivity within the food web against perturbations. Our work provides valuable information for supporting the management of the area because it disentangles the multiple ecosystem players and their roles.


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