3 years ago

Reorganization of interaction networks modulates the persistence of species in late successional stages

Reorganization of interaction networks modulates the persistence of species in late successional stages
Rudolf P. Rohr, Serguei Saavedra, Karina Boege, Ek del-Val, Simone Cenci
Ecological interaction networks constantly reorganize as interspecific interactions change across successional stages and environmental gradients. This reorganization can also be associated with the extent to which species change their preference for types of niches available in their local sites. Despite the pervasiveness of these interaction changes, previous studies have revealed that network reorganizations have a minimal or insignificant effect on global descriptors of network architecture, such as connectance, modularity and nestedness. However, little is known about whether these reorganizations may have an effect on community dynamics and composition. To answer the question above, we study the multi-year dynamics and reorganization of plant–herbivore interaction networks across secondary successional stages of a tropical dry forest. We develop new quantitative tools based on a structural stability approach to estimate the potential impact of network reorganization on species persistence. Then, we investigate whether this impact can explain the likelihood of persistence of herbivore species in the observed communities. We find that resident (early-arriving) herbivore species increase their likelihood of persistence across time and successional stages. Importantly, we demonstrate that, in late successional stages, the reorganization of interactions among resident species has a strong inhibitory effect on the likelihood of persistence of colonizing (late-arriving) herbivores. These findings support earlier predictions suggesting that, in mature communities, changes of species interactions can act as community-control mechanisms (also known as priority effects). Furthermore, our results illustrate that the dynamics and composition of ecological communities cannot be fully understood without attention to their reorganization processes, despite the invariability of global network properties. Capitalizing on new quantitative tools and empirical data, this work confirms earlier predictions that the reorganization of species interaction networks can act as a community-control mechanism in the late successional stage of a community.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12710

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • 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.