Classifications of Indirect Effects

Although detailed analysis of various possible classifications would be outside the scope of this publication, it is worth mentioning, however, that indirect effects can be characterized in a number of ways, related, for example, to the characteristics of exerting, receiving, and transmitting compartments, presence/absence of a lag phase before the manifestation of a response, strength of the interaction (particularly in relation to the direct interactions) and its directionality (e.g., whether it is isotropic or anisotropic), dependence on a specific ecosystem context, importance for the functioning of the compartments involved, importance for structural (e.g., successional or evolutionary) changes in the populations involved and the whole biological community, and significance for overall ecosystem functioning. In the author's view, the different ways to characterize indirect interactions are not contradictory, but rather complementary, and may conveniently contribute to the toolbox for comparative ecosystem analysis.

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