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Which of our modeling predictions are robust?

OPEN PLoS computational biology | 30 Jul 2012

RJ De Boer
Abstract
In theoretical ecology it is well known that the steady state expressions of the variables in a food chain crucially depend on the parity of the length of the chain. This poses a major problem for modeling real food webs because it is difficult to establish their true number of trophic levels, with sometimes rare predators and often rampant pathogens. Similar problems arise in the modeling of chronic viral infections. We review examples where seemingly general interpretations strongly depend on the number of levels in a model, and on its specific equations. This Perspective aims to open the discussion on this problem.
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Concepts
Charles Sutherland Elton, Immune system, Thermodynamics, Mathematics, Food chain, Apex predator, Ecology, Trophic level
MeSH headings
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