Can network metrics predict vulnerability and species roles in bird-dispersed plant communities? Not without behaviour

Teresa Morán-López, Walter D. Espíndola, Benjamin S. Vizzachero, Antonio Fontanella, Letty Salinas, César Arana, Guillermo Amico, Marco A. Pizo, Tomás A. Carlo, Juan M. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Network metrics are widely used to infer the roles of mutualistic animals in plant communities and to predict the effect of species' loss. However, their empirical validation is scarce. Here we parameterized a joint species model of frugivory and seed dispersal with bird movement and foraging data from tropical and temperate communities. With this model, we investigate the effect of frugivore loss on seed rain, and compare our predictions to those of standard coextinction models and network metrics. Topological coextinction models underestimated species loss after the removal of highly linked frugivores with unique foraging behaviours. Network metrics informed about changes in seed rain quantity after frugivore loss. However, changes in seed rain composition were only predicted by partner diversity. Nestedness, closeness, and d’ specialisation could not anticipate the effects of rearrangements in plant–frugivore communities following species loss. Accounting for behavioural differences among mutualists is critical to improve predictions from network models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-358
Number of pages11
JournalEcology Letters
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Field studies were funded by NSF grant DEB- 1556719 to T. A. Carlo. Teresa Mor?n-L?pez was beneficiary of a postdoctoral CONICET fellowship funded by the Argentine government. Waler D. Esp?ndola, B. S. Vizzacero and T. A. Carlo were supported by The Penn State Biology Department & Ecology Program. M. A. Pizo receives a research grant from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq). Arana & L. Salinas were supported by the Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM in Lima Peru. JMM was funded by the project PICT 2015 0815 from the Argentine goverment. C. John Wenzel supported work at the Powdermill Nature Reserve from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, USA. Luis A?eses, A. Rodr?guez &A. Casas supported work at La Finca Monta?a (Aguadilla) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayag?ez. The Universidade Estadual Paulista in Rio Claro supported work in Brazil. We are also grateful to A. Torres-P?ucar, J. Hern?ndez, Brady W. Boyer and W. Kaselow for field work and to Gonz?lez-Castro A. for help with network analysis.

Funding Information:
Field studies were funded by NSF grant DEB‐ 1556719 to T. A. Carlo. Teresa Morán‐López was beneficiary of a postdoctoral CONICET fellowship funded by the Argentine government. Waler D. Espíndola, B. S. Vizzacero and T. A. Carlo were supported by The Penn State Biology Department & Ecology Program. M. A. Pizo receives a research grant from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq). Arana & L. Salinas were supported by the Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM in Lima Peru. JMM was funded by the project PICT 2015 0815 from the Argentine goverment. C. John Wenzel supported work at the Powdermill Nature Reserve from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, USA. Luis Añeses, A. Rodríguez &A. Casas supported work at La Finca Montaña (Aguadilla) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. The Universidade Estadual Paulista in Rio Claro supported work in Brazil. We are also grateful to A. Torres‐Páucar, J. Hernández, Brady W. Boyer and W. Kaselow for field work and to González‐Castro A. for help with network analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Extinctions
  • networks
  • plant–frugivore assemblages
  • rewiring
  • seed rain

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