Get access

Structure–stability relationships in networks combining mutualistic and antagonistic interactions

Authors

  • Alix M. C. Sauve,

    1. Dépt Écologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, Laboratoire Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations, UMR 7204 CNRS-MNHN, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, FR-75005 Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Colin Fontaine,

    1. Dépt Écologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, Laboratoire Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations, UMR 7204 CNRS-MNHN, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, FR-75005 Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elisa Thébault

    1. Dépt Écologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, Laboratoire Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations, UMR 7204 CNRS-MNHN, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, FR-75005 Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author

A. M. C. Sauve, Dépt Écologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, Laboratoire Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations, UMR 7204 CNRS-MNHN, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, FR-75005 Paris, France. Biogéochimie et Écologie des Milieux Continentaux, UMR 7618 (CNRS, UPMC, ENS, IRD, AgroParisTech), École Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d’Ulm, FR-75005 Paris, France. E-mail: sauve@biologie.ens.fr

Abstract

The relationship between the structure of ecological networks and community stability has been studied for decades. Recent developments highlighted that this relationship depended on whether interactions were antagonistic or mutualistic. Different structures promoting stability in different types of ecological networks, i.e. mutualistic or antagonistic, have been pointed out. However, these findings come from studies considering mutualistic and antagonistic interactions separately whereas we know that species are part of both types of networks simultaneously. Understanding the relationship between network structure and community stability, when mutualistic and antagonistic interactions are merged in a single network, thus appears as the next challenge to improve our understanding of the dynamics of natural communities. Using a theoretical approach, we test whether the structural characteristics known to promote stability in networks made of a single interaction type still hold for network merging mutualistic and antagonistic interactions. We show that the effects of diversity and connectance remain unchanged. But the effects of nestedness and modularity are strongly weakened in networks combining mutualistic and antagonistic interactions. By challenging the stabilizing mechanisms proposed for networks with a single interaction type, our study calls for new measures of structure for networks that integrate the diversity of interaction.

Ancillary