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The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour


Kaiser-Bunbury, C N; Muff, S; Memmott, J; Müller, C B; Caflisch, A (2010). The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour. Ecology Letters, 13(4):442-452.

Abstract

Species extinctions pose serious threats to the functioning of ecological communities worldwide. We used two qualitative and quantitative pollination networks to simulate extinction patterns following three removal scenarios: random removal and systematic removal of the strongest and weakest interactors. We accounted for pollinator behaviour by including potential links into temporal snapshots (12 consecutive 2-week networks) to
reflect mutualists' ability to 'switch' interaction partners (re-wiring). Qualitative data suggested a linear or slower than linear secondary extinction while quantitative data showed sigmoidal decline of plant interaction strength upon removal of the strongest
interactor. Temporal snapshots indicated greater stability of re-wired networks over static systems. Tolerance of generalized networks to species extinctions was high in the
random removal scenario, with an increase in network stability if species formed new interactions. Anthropogenic disturbance, however, that promote the extinction of the
strongest interactors might induce a sudden collapse of pollination networks.

Abstract

Species extinctions pose serious threats to the functioning of ecological communities worldwide. We used two qualitative and quantitative pollination networks to simulate extinction patterns following three removal scenarios: random removal and systematic removal of the strongest and weakest interactors. We accounted for pollinator behaviour by including potential links into temporal snapshots (12 consecutive 2-week networks) to
reflect mutualists' ability to 'switch' interaction partners (re-wiring). Qualitative data suggested a linear or slower than linear secondary extinction while quantitative data showed sigmoidal decline of plant interaction strength upon removal of the strongest
interactor. Temporal snapshots indicated greater stability of re-wired networks over static systems. Tolerance of generalized networks to species extinctions was high in the
random removal scenario, with an increase in network stability if species formed new interactions. Anthropogenic disturbance, however, that promote the extinction of the
strongest interactors might induce a sudden collapse of pollination networks.

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112 citations in Web of Science®
113 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Biochemistry
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Biochemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Behaviour, complex networks, extinction, habitat restoration, Mauritius, mutualism, network re-wiring, pollination
Language:English
Date:April 2010
Deposited On:20 May 2010 14:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:08
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1461-023X
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01437.x

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