Measuring heterogeneity in soil networks:a network analysis and simulation-based approach

Davis, Natalie and Polhill, J. Gareth and Aitkenhead, M. J. (2021) Measuring heterogeneity in soil networks:a network analysis and simulation-based approach. Ecological Modelling, 439. ISSN 0304-3800

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Quantifying soil structural and ecological heterogeneity is crucial for understanding their interactions and their relationships to the resilience and health of the wider ecosystem. However, a clear understanding of how structural heterogeneity affects soil biodiversity is still emerging. Previous work has primarily used expensive, often laboratory-based methods to quantify soil pore network structure, and typically separated study of structural and biological dimensions. Here, we test whether standard network metrics can be used to quantify structural heterogeneity in soil pore networks, and how this network structure, along with characteristics of the consumer and resource populations, affects the heterogeneity of a population of consumers. Specifically, we extract simplified soil pore networks from digital photographs of soil profiles and apply established metrics from network science and transport geography to quantify and compare the networks. The networks are also used as the medium for an agent-based model of generalised consumers, to analyse the effects of consumer and resource parameterisations and network structure. Combining network analysis and simulation modelling in this way can provide insights on the structure, function, and diversity possible in the soil, as well as avenues for exploring the impact of future structural or environmental changes.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Ecological Modelling
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Ecological Modelling. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Ecological Modelling, 439, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109308
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Deposited On:
23 Nov 2020 16:35
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:39