4 years ago

Breaking the spell of nestedness.

Laura Hernández, Yamir Moreno, Clàudia Payrató Borrás

Mutualistic interactions, which are beneficial for both interacting species, are recurrently present in ecosystems. Observations of natural systems showed that, if we draw mutualistic relationships as binary links between species, the resulting bipartite network of interactions displays a widespread particular ordering called nestedness. On the other hand, theoretical works have shown that a nested structure has a positive impact on a number of relevant features ranging from species coexistence to a higher structural stability of communities and biodiversity. However, how nestedness emerges and what are its determinants, are still open challenges that have led to multiple debates to date. Here, we show, by applying a theoretical approach to the analysis of 167 real mutualistic networks, that nestedness is not an irreducible feature, but a consequence of the degree sequences of both guilds of the mutualistic network. Remarkably, we find that an outstanding majority of the analyzed networks does not show statistical significant nestedness. These findings point to the need of revising previous claims about the role of nestedness and might contribute to expand our understanding of how evolution shapes mutualistic interactions and communities by placing the focus on the local properties rather than on global quantities.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.03134

DOI: arXiv:1711.03134v1

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.