General Question

Is there any convention of how to express different types of relations (e.g., eats, turns into, is beneficial to) and agents (e.g., species, nutrient) in an ecological diagram? I know that inhibitory relationships are indicated by barred arrows, but I failed to find anything going beyond this.


Suppose, I want to express that Species A excretes Nutrient X, which in turn is metabolised by Species B. Naïvely, I would sketch this as follows:

example diagram

However, this it not necessarily clear:

  • I here arbitrarily used squares and circles to distinguish species and nutrients. If you do not know this, you could not immediately distinguish them. (Of course, I may just use specific examples like tree instead of A, but then for my theoretical cases, a tree is too concrete.)

  • The arrows mean different things. The left arrow means excretes, the right arrow means is metabolised by. Moreover, the arrows could be mistaken for something like turns into or a general is beneficial to.

How would I denote the above relation unambiguously in a diagram?


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