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Mutualistic Networks$
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Jordi Bascompte and Pedro Jordano

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691131269

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691131269.001.0001

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Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms

Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms

(p.64) Chapter Four Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms
Mutualistic Networks

Jordi Bascompte

Pedro Jordano

Princeton University Press

A persistent challenge in evolutionary biology has been understanding how coevolution has produced complex webs of interacting species. This chapter investigates the suite of ecological, evolutionary, and coevolutionary mechanisms responsible for generating such network patterns. Although some predictors of a species position in a network of interactions have been studied—mainly species abundance and forbidden links—we are moving toward an integrative approach, where several variables are tested simultaneously within the framework of phylogenetically independent contrasts. This can help us quantify the relative contribution of different factors given that they are often correlated. Body size, phenological spread, regional abundance, and species abundance are significantly correlated with a species position in the network of interactions in the frugivore set. There is a phylogenetic signal in the position of a species in the network (e.g., its degree). Beyond this, the phylogenetic patterns of shared ancestry also play a key role in explaining the overall pattern of mutualistic associations between the two sets of species. This pattern of interaction is influenced mainly by the evolutionary history of the plants.

Keywords:   mutualistic networks, mutualisms, network structure, ecological networks, phylogenetic effects, coevolutioin

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