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Data synthesis and dynamic visualization converge into a comprehensive biotic interaction network: a case study of the urban and rural areas of Bogotá D.C.


Documenting biotic interactions is pivotal for understanding ecosystem processes, and although there is a large amount of data in the scientific literature, it is overly dispersed in thousands of different sources with varying degrees of availability. Despite recent and partially successful efforts to integrate biotic interaction data at a global scale into single databases, those have mostly incorporated data for natural and conserved locations, while urban and densely populated areas remain largely under-sampled. Considering that filling these gaps is essential to make ecological inferences regarding human settlements and their adjacent surrounding environments, we employed Bogotá D.C. (Colombia) as a suitable and biogeographically interesting location to extensively compile interaction data into a database by conducting an exhaustive revision of the scientific literature and documenting interactions during field work in several locations within the study area. Moreover, we also developed an online tool to visualize and explore this database in a graphical and interactive way as a large network, with the aim of facilitating both simple and complex inferences from the data and attracting the non-scientific public. The resulting database comprises 4342 unique interaction records, consisting of 1566 species across most of the major clades of the tree of life. Titled as Biotic Interaction Network of Bogota, the interaction record database is continuously updated as new studies and datasets are published, aiming to display a holistic and up-to-date representation of the ecosystem dynamics of Bogotá, a nearly unprecedented approach carried out in an area that includes an urban environment.

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We thank the Scientific Subdirection of Bogotá Botanical Garden José Celestino Mutis for supporting and funding this project. We also thank researchers of Flora of Bogotá for their assistance in the taxonomic identification of collected plant specimens and for reviewing the draft manuscript and the online tool, with special mention of former members Marcela Celis and César Marín, who opened up the opportunity to formally establish this project within the institution. In addition, we are grateful to Vanessa Reina and Katie Walker for creating and providing the family-level icons, to Maria Fernanda Hernández, who aided in the edition of these icons and to José Muñoz, for his aid in the generation and edition of some figures. Finally, we appreciate both anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions to improve the final version of this article.

Availability of data and material

The datasets compiled to carry over this project are available as supplementary files 2 and 3 in this article.

Code availability

The source code for the web visualization tool developed for this project is not publicly available at the moment due to norms and policies of the Bogotá Botanical Garden.


Funding was provided by the Scientific Subdirection of Bogotá Botanical Garden José Celestino Mutis under the inverstment project 1121 entitled “Investigación para la conservación de los ecosistemas y la flora de Bogotá D.C. y la región”.

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Authors and Affiliations



Andrés A. Del Risco and Ángela Rodríguez wrote the manuscript and designed the database structure, Diego A. Moreno wrote the code for the development of the web visualization tool and Susana Currea and Viviana García edited the figures. All authors participated in the acquisition and compilation of data, as well as the revision of the final version of the manuscript and the beta version of the web visualization tool.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrés A. Del Risco.

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The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Del Risco, A.A., Montoya, Á.M., García, V. et al. Data synthesis and dynamic visualization converge into a comprehensive biotic interaction network: a case study of the urban and rural areas of Bogotá D.C.. Urban Ecosyst 25, 75–86 (2022).

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  • Bogotá
  • Biotic interactions
  • Graphical network
  • Urban ecosystem
  • Visualization