Deceased 7 March 2008.
The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour
Article first published online: 21 JAN 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS
Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 442–452, April 2010
How to Cite
Kaiser-Bunbury, C. N., Muff, S., Memmott, J., Müller, C. B. and Caflisch, A. (2010), The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour. Ecology Letters, 13: 442–452. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01437.x
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 JAN 2010
- Editor, James Grace Manuscript received 9 November 2009 First decision made 7 December 2009 Manuscript accepted 14 December 2009
- complex networks;
- habitat restoration;
- network re-wiring;
Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 442–452
Species extinctions pose serious threats to the functioning of ecological communities worldwide. We used two qualitative and quantitative pollination networks to simulate extinction patterns following three removal scenarios: random removal and systematic removal of the strongest and weakest interactors. We accounted for pollinator behaviour by including potential links into temporal snapshots (12 consecutive 2-week networks) to reflect mutualists’ ability to ‘switch’ interaction partners (re-wiring). Qualitative data suggested a linear or slower than linear secondary extinction while quantitative data showed sigmoidal decline of plant interaction strength upon removal of the strongest interactor. Temporal snapshots indicated greater stability of re-wired networks over static systems. Tolerance of generalized networks to species extinctions was high in the random removal scenario, with an increase in network stability if species formed new interactions. Anthropogenic disturbance, however, that promote the extinction of the strongest interactors might induce a sudden collapse of pollination networks.