Emergent Structure of Ecological Networks


Ecologists in the last decades started to collect several data on real ecological networks (e.g. interaction web database). They can be divided into two classes: 1) Mutualistic networks, where interaction between two species is beneficial for the survival and reproduction of both of them (such as animal pollinators and flowering plants); 2) Trophic (or Antagonist) networks, that maps which species eat which other species (food web). Several studies have investigated the characteristic “architecture” for these two type of networks. It has been proposed that each one of the these types of network is characterized by a particular topological emergent property. Researchers find a common, well-defined network architecture regardless of the type of species composition, latitude, and other variables. In this thesis the student is encouraged to work along this line of research, testing new proposed null model, and applying new theoretical description of multi-layers networks knowns as Multiplex.


  • Suweis S. et al., ‘‘Emergence of structural and dynamical properties of ecological mutualistic networks.’’ Nature 500.7463 (2013): 449.
  • Grilli J. et al., ‘‘Feasibility and coexistence of large ecological communities.’’ Nature comm., 8, 14389.
  • Johnson S. and Jones, N. S. (2017). ‘‘Looplessness in networks is linked to trophic coherence.’’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(22), 5618-5623.
Collaborative LIPh
Collaborative Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Physics