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How plants connect pollination and herbivory networks and their contribution to community stability

Abstract : Pollination and herbivory networks have mainly been studied separately, highlighting their distinct structural characteristics and the related processes and dynamics. However, most plants interact with both pollinators and herbivores, and there is evidence that both types of interaction affect each other. Here we investigated the way plants connect these mutualistic and antagonistic networks together, and the consequences for community stability. Using an empirical data set, we show that the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks is not random and promotes community stability. Analyses of the structure of binary and quantitative networks show different results: the plants' generalism with regard to pollinators is positively correlated to their generalism with regard to herbivores when considering binary interactions, but not when considering quantitative interactions. We also show that plants that share the same pollinators do not share the same herbivores. However, the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks promotes stability for both binary and quantitative networks. Our results highlight the relevance of considering the diversity of interaction types in ecological communities, and stress the need to better quantify the costs and benefits of interactions, as well as to develop new metrics characterizing the way different interaction types are combined within ecological networks.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 11, 2016 - 4:53:41 PM
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Alix Marianne Carine Sauve, Elisa Thébault, Michael J. O. Pocock, Colin Fontaine. How plants connect pollination and herbivory networks and their contribution to community stability. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2015, 9 (4), pp.908-917. ⟨10.1890/15-0132.1⟩. ⟨hal-01301160⟩

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