Best Scientific Visualizations of 2013

Wired is listing their “Best Scientific Visualizations of 2013.”

Included on their list is the interesting network diagram below, from the paper “Parasites Affect Food Web Structure Primarily through Increased Diversity and Complexity” by Jennifer Dunne et al. (PLoS Biology, Vol. 11, No. 6, June 2013) – a paper which I have previously mentioned.

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Blogroll: Assembling my Network

Assembling my Network, one of the blogs I follow, is running a series of posts about network analysis using the igraph package of R (see Part I of III and Part II of III). I’ve expressed myself elsewhere on how useful R is (the diagram below is just one example), and these posts do a very good job of explaining the network-related aspects of R.

Update 1: see also the sequels: More food web plotting with R and Part III of III. The latter post looks at the Otago Harbour intertidal mudflat food web which I have posted about before. There will surely be more posts about R and food webs to look forward to on this blog.

Update 2: this content is now also on a page at this blog, for more convenient access.

Parasites and food webs


Parasitic copepod on the gill of a whiting (photo: Hans Hillewaert)

A recent paper “Parasites Affect Food Web Structure Primarily through Increased Diversity and Complexity” in PLoS Biology by Jennifer Dunne and others (including Robert Poulin from Otago) examines the effect of including parasites in food webs. The primary impact appears “attributable to the generic effects of increases in diversity and complexity, regardless of the identity or type of species and links being added.” However, parasites do impact network motifs because of, for example, the ingestion of parasites by predators of their hosts.

Fascinating work!


The Otago Harbour intertidal mudflat food web, with parasites shown in red

See also Assembling my network, Roopnarine’s foodweblog and the Parasite ecology blog.