Academic Journals Database
Disseminating quality controlled scientific knowledge

Different tolerances of symbiotic and nonsymbiotic ant-plant networks to species extinctions

Author(s): Wesley Dattilo

Journal: Network Biology
ISSN 2220-8879

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 127;
Date: 2012;
VIEW PDF   PDF DOWNLOAD PDF   Download PDF Original page

Keywords: mutualistic interactions | ecological networks | robustness | loss species | modularity

The knowledge of the mechanisms that shape biodiversity-stability relationships is essential to understand ecological and evolutionary dynamics of interacting species. However, most studies focus only on species loss and ignore the loss of interactions. In this study, I evaluated the topological structure of two different ant-plant networks: symbiotic (ants and myrmecophytes) and nonsymbiotic (ants and plants with extrafloral nectaries). Moreover, I also evaluated in both networks the tolerance to plant and ant species extinction using a new approach. For this, I used models based on simulations of cumulative removals of species from the network at random. Both networks were fundamentally different in the interaction and extinction patterns. The symbiotic network was more specialized and less robust to species extinction. On the other hand, the nonsymbiotic network tends to be functionally redundant and more robust to species extinction. The difference for food resource utilization and ant nesting in both ant-plant interactions can explain the observed pattern. In short, I contributed in this manner to our understanding of the biodiversity maintenance and coevolutionary processes in facultative and obligate mutualisms.
RPA Switzerland

RPA Switzerland

Robotic process automation


Tango Rapperswil
Tango Rapperswil