Ecological network theory hypothesizes that the structuring of species interactions can convey stability to the system. Investigating how these structures react to species loss is fundamental for understanding network disassembly or their robustness. However, this topic has mainly been studied in-silico so far. Here, in an experimental manipulation, we sequentially removed four generalist plants from real plant–pollinator networks. We explored the effects on, and drivers of, species and interaction disappearance, network structure and interaction rewiring. First, we compared both the local extinctions of species and interactions and the observed network indices with those expected from three co-extinction models. Second, we investigated the trends in network indices and rewiring rate after plant removal and the pollinator tendency at establishing novel links in relation to their proportional visitation to the removed plants. Furthermore, we explored the underlying drivers of network assembly with probability matrices based on ecological traits. Our results indicate that the cumulative local extinctions of species and interactions increased faster with generalist plant loss than what was expected by co-extinction models, which predicted the survival or disappearance of many species incorrectly, and the observed network indices were lowly correlated to those predicted by co-extinction models. Furthermore, the real networks reacted in complex ways to plant removal. First, network nestedness decreased and modularity increased. Second, although species abundance was a main assembly rule, opportunistic random interactions and structural unpredictability emerged as plants were removed. Both these reactions could indicate network instability and fragility. Other results showed network reorganization, as rewiring rate was high and asymmetries between network levels emerged as plants increased their centrality. Moreover, the generalist pollinators that had frequently visited both the plants targeted of removal and the non-target plants tended to establish novel links more than who either had only visited the removal plants or avoided to do so. With the experimental manipulation of real networks, our study shows that despite their reorganizational ability, plant–pollinator networks changed towards a more fragile state when generalist plants are lost. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.

Biella, P., Akter, A., Ollerton, J., Nielsen, A., Klecka, J. (2020). An empirical attack tolerance test alters the structure and species richness of plant–pollinator networks. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 34(11), 2246-2258 [10.1111/1365-2435.13642].

An empirical attack tolerance test alters the structure and species richness of plant–pollinator networks

Biella, P
;
2020

Abstract

Ecological network theory hypothesizes that the structuring of species interactions can convey stability to the system. Investigating how these structures react to species loss is fundamental for understanding network disassembly or their robustness. However, this topic has mainly been studied in-silico so far. Here, in an experimental manipulation, we sequentially removed four generalist plants from real plant–pollinator networks. We explored the effects on, and drivers of, species and interaction disappearance, network structure and interaction rewiring. First, we compared both the local extinctions of species and interactions and the observed network indices with those expected from three co-extinction models. Second, we investigated the trends in network indices and rewiring rate after plant removal and the pollinator tendency at establishing novel links in relation to their proportional visitation to the removed plants. Furthermore, we explored the underlying drivers of network assembly with probability matrices based on ecological traits. Our results indicate that the cumulative local extinctions of species and interactions increased faster with generalist plant loss than what was expected by co-extinction models, which predicted the survival or disappearance of many species incorrectly, and the observed network indices were lowly correlated to those predicted by co-extinction models. Furthermore, the real networks reacted in complex ways to plant removal. First, network nestedness decreased and modularity increased. Second, although species abundance was a main assembly rule, opportunistic random interactions and structural unpredictability emerged as plants were removed. Both these reactions could indicate network instability and fragility. Other results showed network reorganization, as rewiring rate was high and asymmetries between network levels emerged as plants increased their centrality. Moreover, the generalist pollinators that had frequently visited both the plants targeted of removal and the non-target plants tended to establish novel links more than who either had only visited the removal plants or avoided to do so. With the experimental manipulation of real networks, our study shows that despite their reorganizational ability, plant–pollinator networks changed towards a more fragile state when generalist plants are lost. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
adaptive foraging; assembly and disassembly of network; community stability; ecosystem services; network reorganization; pollination; restoration; species co-extinction;
adaptive foraging; assembly and disassembly of network; community stability; ecosystem services; network reorganization; pollination; restoration; species co-extinction
English
2020
34
11
2246
2258
reserved
Biella, P., Akter, A., Ollerton, J., Nielsen, A., Klecka, J. (2020). An empirical attack tolerance test alters the structure and species richness of plant–pollinator networks. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 34(11), 2246-2258 [10.1111/1365-2435.13642].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/285594
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