Understanding how evolutionary and ecological processes shape species interaction networks remains as one of the main challenges in eco-evolutionary studies. Here, we present an integrative analytical framework to partition the effects of phylogenies and functional traits on the structure of ecological networks. The method combines fuzzy set theory and matrix correlation, implemented under a Monte Carlo framework. We designed a simulation study in order to estimate the accuracy of the methods proposed here, measuring Type I Error rates. The simulation study shows that the method is accurate, i.e., incorrectly rejecting a true null hypothesis in ~5% of the cases and falling within the confidence interval. We illustrate our framework using data from a seed dispersal network from southern Brazil. Our analyses suggest that birds must have specific traits in order to consume their plant resources, and that phylogenetic resemblance has no explanatory power for species traits and species interactions in this seed-dispersal network.
Evolutionary Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2017
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