Dynamical implications of bi-directional resource exchange within a meta-ecosystem

Marisabel Rodriguez Messan, Darin Kopp, Daniel C. Allen, Yun Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The exchange of resources across ecosystem boundaries can have large impacts on ecosystem structures and functions at local and regional scales. In this article, we develop a simple model to investigate dynamical implications of bi-directional resource exchanges between two local ecosystems in a meta-ecosystem framework. In our model, we assume that (1) Each local ecosystem acts as both a resource donor and recipient, such that one ecosystem donating resources to another results in a cost to the donating system and a benefit to the recipient; and (2) The costs and benefits of the bi-directional resource exchange between two ecosystems are correlated in a nonlinear fashion. Our model could apply to the resource interactions between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that are supported by the literature. Our theoretical results show that bi-directional resource exchange between two ecosystems can indeed generate complicated dynamical outcomes, including the coupled ecosystems having amensalistic, antagonistic, competitive, or mutualistic interactions, with multiple alternative stable states depending on the relative costs and benefits. In addition, if the relative cost for resource exchange for an ecosystem is decreased or the relative benefit for resource exchange for an ecosystem is increased, the production of that ecosystem would increase; however, depending on the local environment, the production of the other ecosystem may increase or decrease. We expect that our work, by evaluating the potential outcomes of resource exchange theoretically, can facilitate empirical evaluations and advance the understanding of spatial ecosystem ecology where resource exchanges occur in varied ecosystems through a complicated network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalMathematical Biosciences
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamical implications of bi-directional resource exchange within a meta-ecosystem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this