Topological change of Andean plant-pollinator networks along an altitudinal gradient

  • Ramos-Jiliberto R
  • Domínguez D
  • Espinoza C
 et al. 
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Pollination interaction networks exhibit structural regularities across a wide range of natural environments. Long-tailed degree distribution, nestedness, and modularity are the most prevalent topological patterns found in most bipartite networks analyzed up to day. In this work we evaluate the variation of these topological properties along an altitudinal gradient. To this end, we examined four plant-pollinator networks from the Chilean Andes at 33°S, in range from 1800 to 3600 m elevation. Our results indicate that network topology is strongly and systematically affected by elevation. At increasing altitude, the number of potential visitors per plant decreased, and species' degree distributions are closer to random expectations. On the other hand, the nested structure of mutualistic interactions systematically decreased with elevation, and network modularity was significantly higher than random expectations over the entire altitudinal range. In addition, at increasing elevations the pollination networks were organized in fewer and more strongly connected modules. Our results suggest that the severe abiotic conditions found at increased elevations translate into less organized pollination networks. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Chile
  • Complexity
  • Degree distribution
  • Modularity
  • Mutualistic networks
  • Nestedness
  • Power law

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  • Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto

  • Daniela Domínguez

  • Claudia Espinoza

  • Gioconda López

  • Fernanda S. Valdovinos

  • Ramiro O. Bustamante

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