We show in this paper that the chaotic regimes of many food chain models often enjoy a very peculiar property, known as peak-to-peak dynamics. This means that the maximum (peak) density of the populations of any trophic level can be easily forecasted provided the last two peaks of the same population are known. Moreover, extensive simulation shows that only the last peak is needed if the forecast concerns the population at the top of the food chain and that peaks variability often increases from bottom to top. All these findings bring naturally to the conclusion that top populations should be sampled in order to have higher chances to detect peak-to-peak dynamics. The analysis is carried out by studying ditrophic food chain models with seasonally varying parameters, tritrophic food chain models with constant parameters, and more complex food chain and food web models.

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