Analysis of a hyper‐diverse seed dispersal network: modularity and underlying mechanisms

Analysis of a hyper‐diverse seed dispersal network: modularity and underlying mechanisms Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 773–781 Mutualistic interactions involving pollination and ant‐plant mutualistic networks typically feature tightly linked species grouped in modules. However, such modularity is infrequent in seed dispersal networks, presumably because research on those networks predominantly includes a single taxonomic animal group (e.g. birds). Herein, for the first time, we examine the pattern of interaction in a network that includes multiple taxonomic groups of seed dispersers, and the mechanisms underlying modularity. We found that the network was nested and modular, with five distinguishable modules. Our examination of the mechanisms underlying such modularity showed that plant and animal trait values were associated with specific modules but phylogenetic effect was limited. Thus, the pattern of interaction in this network is only partially explained by shared evolutionary history. We conclude that the observed modularity emerged by a combination of phylogenetic history and trait convergence of phylogenetically unrelated species, shaped by interactions with particular types of dispersal agents. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecology Letters Wiley

Analysis of a hyper‐diverse seed dispersal network: modularity and underlying mechanisms

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS
ISSN
1461-023X
eISSN
1461-0248
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01639.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 773–781 Mutualistic interactions involving pollination and ant‐plant mutualistic networks typically feature tightly linked species grouped in modules. However, such modularity is infrequent in seed dispersal networks, presumably because research on those networks predominantly includes a single taxonomic animal group (e.g. birds). Herein, for the first time, we examine the pattern of interaction in a network that includes multiple taxonomic groups of seed dispersers, and the mechanisms underlying modularity. We found that the network was nested and modular, with five distinguishable modules. Our examination of the mechanisms underlying such modularity showed that plant and animal trait values were associated with specific modules but phylogenetic effect was limited. Thus, the pattern of interaction in this network is only partially explained by shared evolutionary history. We conclude that the observed modularity emerged by a combination of phylogenetic history and trait convergence of phylogenetically unrelated species, shaped by interactions with particular types of dispersal agents.

Journal

Ecology LettersWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2011

References

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