Ecological network complexity scales with area

Núria Galiana*, Miguel Lurgi, Vinicius A.G. Bastazini, Jordi Bosch, Luciano Cagnolo, Kevin Cazelles, Bernat Claramunt-López, Carine Emer, Marie Josée Fortin, Ingo Grass, Carlos Hernández-Castellano, Frank Jauker, Shawn J. Leroux, Kevin McCann, Anne M. McLeod, Daniel Montoya, Christian Mulder, Sergio Osorio-Canadas, Sara Reverté, Anselm RodrigoIngolf Steffan-Dewenter, Anna Traveset, Sergi Valverde, Diego P. Vázquez, Spencer A. Wood, Dominique Gravel, Tomas Roslin, Wilfried Thuiller, José M. Montoya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Larger geographical areas contain more species—an observation raised to a law in ecology. Less explored is whether biodiversity changes are accompanied by a modification of interaction networks. We use data from 32 spatial interaction networks from different ecosystems to analyse how network structure changes with area. We find that basic community structure descriptors (number of species, links and links per species) increase with area following a power law. Yet, the distribution of links per species varies little with area, indicating that the fundamental organization of interactions within networks is conserved. Our null model analyses suggest that the spatial scaling of network structure is determined by factors beyond species richness and the number of links. We demonstrate that biodiversity–area relationships can be extended from species counts to higher levels of network complexity. Therefore, the consequences of anthropogenic habitat destruction may extend from species loss to wider simplification of natural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • BIODIVERSITY
  • CHAIN LENGTH
  • COMMUNITY
  • CONNECTANCE
  • CONTEXT
  • EVOLUTIONARY
  • FOOD-WEB STRUCTURE
  • MODULARITY
  • PATTERNS
  • SPATIAL VARIABILITY

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