The spatial scaling of species interaction networks

Nuria Galiana, Miguel Lurgi, Bernat Claramunt-López, Marie Josée Fortin, Shawn Leroux, Kevin Cazelles, Dominique Gravel, José M. Montoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 The Author(s). Species-area relationships (SARs) are pivotal to understand the distribution of biodiversity across spatial scales. We know little, however, about how the network of biotic interactions in which biodiversity is embedded changes with spatial extent. Here we develop a new theoretical framework that enables us to explore how different assembly mechanisms and theoretical models affect multiple properties of ecological networks across space. We present a number of testable predictions on network-area relationships (NARs) for multi-trophic communities. Network structure changes as area increases because of the existence of different SARs across trophic levels, the preferential selection of generalist species at small spatial extents and the effect of dispersal limitation promoting beta-diversity. Developing an understanding of NARs will complement the growing body of knowledge on SARs with potential applications in conservation ecology. Specifically, combined with further empirical evidence, NARs can generate predictions of potential effects on ecological communities of habitat loss and fragmentation in a changing world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-790
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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