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Water‐controlled ecosystems as complex networks: Evaluation of network‐based approaches to quantify patterns of connectivity

Tiwari, Shubham; Recinos Brizuela, Sonia; Hein, Thomas; Turnbull-Lloyd, Laura; Wainwright, John; Funk, Andrea

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Shubham Tiwari shubham.tiwari@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Thomas Hein

Andrea Funk



Abstract

This study provides a new perspective on understanding the intricacies of water‐mediated connectivity in ecosystems, bridging landscape ecology and geomorphology through network science. We highlight dryland and river‐floodplain ecosystems as distinct examples of contrasting water‐controlled systems. We (1) discuss central considerations in developing structural connectivity and functional connectivity networks of water‐mediated connectivity; (2) quantify the emergent patterns in these networks; and (3) evaluate the capacity of network science tools for investigating connectivity characteristics. With a focus on strength (weights) and direction, connectivity is quantified using seven parameters at both network and node levels. We find that link density, betweenness centrality and page rank centrality are highly sensitive to directionality; global efficiency and degree centrality are particularly sensitive to weights; and relative node efficiency remains unaffected by weights and directions. Our study underscores how network science approaches can transform how we quantify and understand water‐mediated connectivity, especially in consideration of the role(s) of weights and directionality. This interdisciplinary perspective, linking ecology, hydrology and geomorphology, has implications for both theoretical insights and practical applications in environmental management and conservation efforts.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 26, 2024
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2024
Publication Date Jul 10, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 26, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2024
Journal Ecohydrology
Print ISSN 1936-0584
Electronic ISSN 1936-0592
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number e2690
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2690
Keywords structural connectivity, functional connectivity, network theory, dryland ecosystem, emergent patterns, river‐floodplain ecosystem
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/2501264

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