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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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Consequences of Network Structure

Consequences of Network Structure

(p.107) Chapter Six Consequences of Network Structure
Mutualistic Networks

Jordi Bascompte

Pedro Jordano

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews the consequences of network structure for community robustness in front of perturbations such as species extinctions, habitat loss, and biological invasions. The nested, heterogeneous structure of mutualistic networks allows a higher number of coexisting species, a higher robustness to perturbations, and a higher rate of return to equilibrium. In spatially extended models, such network architecture increases spatial heterogeneity. When looking at species identities, however, there is a phylogenetic signal on network patterns. This implies that coextinction cascades following species extinctions tend to involve phylogenetically similar species, therefore leading to a higher loss of taxonomic diversity and a biased pruning of the evolutionary tree. Regarding the implications of network structure for coevolution, models suggest that even very infrequent pairwise coevolutionary events might trigger evolutionary changes in other species, increasing the cohesiveness of the interaction network.

Keywords:   mutualistic networks, mutualisms, network structure, community dynamics, coevolution, plant–animal mutualisms, coextinction

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