Network topology: patterns and mechanisms in plant-herbivore and host-parasitoid food webs
Article first published online: 9 DEC 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 80, Issue 2, pages 342–351, March 2011
How to Cite
Cagnolo, L., Salvo, A. and Valladares, G. (2011), Network topology: patterns and mechanisms in plant-herbivore and host-parasitoid food webs. Journal of Animal Ecology, 80: 342–351. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01778.x
- Issue published online: 5 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 9 DEC 2010
- Received 16 January 2010; accepted 20 October 2010 Handling Editor: Frank Van Veen
- body size;
- food webs;
- network topology;
1. Biological communities are organized in complex interaction networks such as food webs, which topology appears to be non-random. Gradients, compartments, nested subsets and even combinations of these structures have been shown in bipartite networks. However, in most studies only one pattern is tested against randomness and mechanistic hypotheses are generally lacking.
2. Here we examined the topology of regional, coexisting plant-herbivore and host-parasitoid food webs to discriminate between the mentioned network patterns. We also evaluated the role of species body size, local abundance, regional frequency and phylogeny as determinants of network topology.
3. We found both food webs to be compartmented, with interaction range boundaries imposed by host phylogeny. Species degree within compartments was mostly related to their regional frequency and local abundance. Only one compartment showed an internal nested structure in the distribution of interactions between species, but species position within this compartment was unrelated to species size or abundance.
4. These results suggest that compartmentalization may be more common than previously considered, and that network structure is a result of multiple, hierarchical, non-exclusive processes.