Beta diversity of plant-pollinator networks and the spatial turnover of pairwise interactions

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Abstract

Interactions between species form complex networks that vary across space and time. Even without spatial or temporal constraints mutualistic pairwise interactions may vary, or rewire, across space but this variability is not well understood. Here, we quantify the beta diversity of species and interactions and test factors influencing the probability of turnover of pairwise interactions across space. We ask: 1) whether beta diversity of plants, pollinators, and interactions follow a similar trend across space, and 2) which interaction properties and site characteristics are related to the probability of turnover of pairwise interactions. Geographical distance was positively correlated with plant and interaction beta diversity. We find that locally frequent interactions are more consistent across space and that local flower abundance is important for the realization of pairwise interactions. While the identity of pairwise interactions is highly variable across space, some speciespairs form interactions that are locally frequent and spatially consistent. Such interactions represent cornerstones of interacting communities and deserve special attention from ecologists and conservation planners alike.

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Carstensen, D. W., Sabatino, M., Trøjelsgaard, K., & Morellato, L. P. C. (2014). Beta diversity of plant-pollinator networks and the spatial turnover of pairwise interactions. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112903

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