Analyzing Ecological Systems Using Network Analysis

Brian D. Fath



Network Environ Analysis, based on network theory, reveals the quantitative and qualitative relations between ecological objects interacting with each other in a system. The primary result from the method provides input and output “environs”, which are internal partitions of the objects within system flows. In addition, application of Network Environ Analysis on empirical datasets and ecosystem models has revealed several important and non-intuitive results that have been identified and summarized in the literature as network environ properties. Network Environ Analysis requires data including the inter-compartmental flows, compartmental storages, and boundary input and output flows. Software is available to perform this analysis on the collected data. This article reviews the theoretical underpinning of the analysis and briefly introduces some the main properties such as indirect effects ratio, network homogenization, and network mutualism.


boundary conditions; connectivity; energy flows; environment; indirect effects; mutualism; network analysis; systems ecology

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