While numerous studies have addressed the effect of global change on biological systems (physiology, species dynamics, evolution), too few have included species responses in a network context. In natural systems, species are embedded in complex network of interdependency, where they depend on each other. It is thus at this scale we need to ask how global change might affect species: how will perturbations spread through the web of life?
Understanding the consequences of global changes thus requires a better knowledge of species interactions and how they mediate the functioning and stability of ecological communities and ecosystems.
This will require a synthesis of concepts and methods developed in mechanistic and phenomenological network ecology, from local to large spatial and temporal scales. As large datasets (phylogeny, spatial species distributions, species traits, etc) are becoming available, we now have a unique opportunity to combine these different types of information and address the fundamental and applied challenges of understanding how the web of life will respond to a changing world.