Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 289–295

Abiotic factors shape temporal variation in the structure of an ant–plant network

  • Victor Rico-Gray
  • Cecilia Díaz-Castelazo
  • Alfredo Ramírez-Hernández
  • Paulo R. GuimarãesJr.
  • J. Nathaniel Holland
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11829-011-9170-3

Cite this article as:
Rico-Gray, V., Díaz-Castelazo, C., Ramírez-Hernández, A. et al. Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2012) 6: 289. doi:10.1007/s11829-011-9170-3

Abstract

Despite recognition of key biotic processes in shaping the structure of biological communities, few empirical studies have explored the influences of abiotic factors on the structural properties of mutualistic networks. We tested whether temperature and precipitation contribute to temporal variation in the nestedness of mutualistic ant–plant networks. While maintaining their nested structure, nestedness increased with mean monthly precipitation and, particularly, with monthly temperature. Moreover, some species changed their role in network structure, shifting from peripheral to core species within the nested network. We could summarize that abiotic factors affect plant species in the vegetation (e.g., phenology), meaning presence/absence of food sources, consequently an increase/decrease of associations with ants, and finally, these variations to fluctuations in nestedness. While biotic factors are certainly important, greater attention needs to be given to abiotic factors as underlying determinants of the structures of ecological networks.

Keywords

Mutualistic networks Effect of abiotic factors México Veracruz 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Rico-Gray
    • 1
    • 4
  • Cecilia Díaz-Castelazo
    • 1
  • Alfredo Ramírez-Hernández
    • 1
    • 5
  • Paulo R. GuimarãesJr.
    • 2
  • J. Nathaniel Holland
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de EcologíaVeracruzMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de EcologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  5. 5.Instituto de Biodiversidad CIBIO, Universidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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