Structure of trophic and mutualistic networks across broad environmental gradients

TitleStructure of trophic and mutualistic networks across broad environmental gradients
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWelti, EL, Joern, A
JournalEcology and Evolution
Pagination326 -334
Accession NumberKNZ001671
Keywordstrophic interactions

This study aims to understand how inherent ecological network structures of nestedness and modularity vary over large geographic scales with implications for community stability. Bipartite networks from previous research from 68 locations globally were analyzed. Using a meta-analysis approach, we examine relationships between the structure of 22 trophic and 46 mutualistic bipartite networks in response to extensive gradients of temperature and precipitation. Network structures varied significantly across temperature gradients. Trophic networks showed decreasing modularity with increasing variation in temperature within years. Nestedness of mutualistic networks decreased with increasing temperature variability between years. Mean annual precipitation and variability of precipitation were not found to have significant influence on the structure of either trophic or mutualistic networks. By examining changes in ecological networks across large-scale abiotic gradients, this study identifies temperature variability as a potential environmental mediator of community stability. Understanding these relationships contributes to our ability to predict responses of biodiversity to climate change at the community level.