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Mutualistic Networks

Mutualistic Networks

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Mutualistic Networks
    Book Description:

    Mutualistic interactions among plants and animals have played a paramount role in shaping biodiversity. Yet the majority of studies on mutualistic interactions have involved only a few species, as opposed to broader mutual connections between communities of organisms.Mutualistic Networksis the first book to comprehensively explore this burgeoning field. Integrating different approaches, from the statistical description of network structures to the development of new analytical frameworks, Jordi Bascompte and Pedro Jordano describe the architecture of these mutualistic networks and show their importance for the robustness of biodiversity and the coevolutionary process.

    Making a case for why we should care about mutualisms and their complex networks, this book offers a new perspective on the study and synthesis of this growing area for ecologists and evolutionary biologists. It will serve as the standard reference for all future work on mutualistic interactions in biological communities.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4872-0
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Biodiversity and Plant-Animal Coevolution
    (pp. 1-14)

    The almost-perfect matching between the morphology of some orchids and that of their insect pollinators fascinated Charles Darwin, who foresaw that the reproduction of these plants was intimately linked to their interaction with the insects (Darwin, 1862). Darwin even predicted that the extinction of one of the species would lead to the extinction of its partner:

    If such great moths were to become extinct in Madagascar, assuredly theAngraecumwould become extinct (Darwin, 1862, p. 202).

    Later on, Alfred Russell Wallace would take the examples of plant-animal interactions to illustrate the force and potential of natural selection to shape phenotypic...

  5. CHAPTER TWO An Introduction to Complex Networks
    (pp. 15-41)

    We saw in the previous chapter that mutualisms can involve dozens, even hundreds, of species and that this complexity has precluded a serious community-wide approach to plant-animal interactions. The most straightforward way to describe such an interacting community is with a network of interactions. In this approach, species are represented as nodes of two types, plants and animals. A link between two such nodes is established if the plant is pollinated or dispersed by the animal. This will allow shedding light and order out of an apparently entangled web, such as the one depicted in Figure 2.1.

    Indeed, Figure 2.1...

  6. CHAPTER THREE The Structure of Plant-Animal Mutualistic Networks
    (pp. 42-63)

    In the last chapter we provided the basic concepts from network theory. They allow us the visualization and analysis of networks of interactions in highly diverse communities. These concepts also provide ways to statistically compare network patterns across communities.

    The first comparative study looking at mutualistic interactions from a network perspective is arguably by Jordano (1987). This paper anticipated the most recent interest in mutualistic networks and already applied ideas from food webs to mutualisms. Apparently nothing happened for awhile; only in the last decade or so has there been a significant advance in our understanding of mutualistic networks (Fonseca...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms
    (pp. 64-86)

    In the previous chapter we described the architecture of mutualistic networks. This has uncovered repeated patterns of structure that emerge in these complex networks of multispecies interactions. They include broad-scale or scale-free distributions of the number of interactions per species, a nested arrangement of interactions such as in Chinese boxes, and a modular organization with multiple modules that act as the basic blocks of the complex network. So far, however, we have used few biological concepts, because this has been mainly a statistical process describing a pattern.

    A persistent challenge in evolutionary biology has been understanding how coevolution has produced...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Mutualistic Networks in Time and Space
    (pp. 87-106)

    Mutualistic networks, as well as food webs and other ecological networks, are mainly static descriptions. Some studies span only a single season; others are cumulative results spanning several seasons but contain no information on temporal dynamics. Similarly, these studies are mainly based on a single locality, sometimes an area of a few square kilometers. In other instances, such as in the composite network by Charles Robertson (1929), later on analyzed by Memmott, Craze, et al. (2007), this spans a huge geographic area. But again, it is a composite snapshot. There is no information on how these networks change through a...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Consequences of Network Structure
    (pp. 107-135)

    In Chapter 3 we described the structure of mutalistic networks. This essentially has been like taking a picture or snapshot. Our motivation was that the structure of ecological networks has a great potential to affect network dynamics and stability (May, 1973; Pimm, 1979; Sugihara, 1983; May, 2006; Pascual and Dunne, 2006). In this chapter we will review the consequences of network structure. In the first sections we will focus on consequences for community dynamics; later on we will review consequences in the face of several drivers of global change such as habitat loss and biological invasions. Finally, we will address...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN Epilogue
    (pp. 136-138)

    In this book we have examined one of the most intriguing and central components of biodiversity: ecological interactions. A particular type of interaction, mutualisms, has been largely neglected in the ecological literature until very recently, yet mutualisms represent one of the main mechanisms for shaping animal’s and plant’s life histories. Understanding mutualistic interactions and their consequences in species-rich communities remains one of the most challenging tasks in ecology.

    We are all fascinated by the enormous variety of details in the natural history of biotic interactions. Despite these daunting details, we should not be trapped in a reductionistic scenario precluding the...

  11. APPENDIX A. Indices Used in Mutualistic Network Analyses
    (pp. 139-142)
  12. APPENDIX B. Fitting Degree Distributions
    (pp. 143-146)
  13. APPENDIX C. Measures of Nestedness
    (pp. 147-149)
  14. APPENDIX D. Measures of Modularity
    (pp. 150-153)
  15. APPENDIX E. Phylogenetic Methods and Network Analysis
    (pp. 154-159)
  16. APPENDIX F. Null Models for Assessing Network Structure
    (pp. 160-166)
  17. APPENDIX G. An Analytical Theory of Mutualistic Networks
    (pp. 167-174)
  18. APPENDIX H. Software for the Analysis of Complex Networks
    (pp. 175-178)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 179-200)
  20. Index
    (pp. 201-206)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 207-208)