There is a large diversity of ecosystems in terms of number of participating species ranging from a few to millions. On the other side, mathematical models have been constructed which are composed of one population up to about 20. In addition, behavior of each population in a mathematical model is usually very simplified. Measured parameters on which models are based range quite a bit, sometimes exceeding an order of magnitude. Inclusion of just one more species in the model may qualitatively change the dynamics of the rest of the model. Hence, by creating and using mathematical models, scientists have so far just begun understanding elements of ecosystems functioning.

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