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Google works on a different web

Page ranking system inspires algorithm for predicting food webs’ vulnerability

12:23pm, September 4, 2009

Ecologists are taking a page, and its ranking, from Google.

A new algorithm inspired by the search engine works well for predicting which species losses will trigger the fastest collapse of a food web, says theoretical ecologist Stefano Allesina of the University of Chicago.

Food webs describe the pattern of what eats what in the neighborhood. If one kind of grass or bug, for example, disappears, creatures that fed on it would need to find something else for lunch. If they couldn’t, or if the alternative entrées went extinct too,

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