A dynamical perspective to community detection in ecological networks

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. FarageShai Pilosof


Ecological networks often have a modular structure with groups of nodes that interact strongly within the group and weakly with other nodes in the network. A modular structure can reveal underlying dynamic ecological or evolutionary processes, influence dynamics that operate on the network, and affect network stability. Consequently, detecting modular structures is a fundamental analysis in network ecology. Although many ecological networks describe flows, such as biomass flows in food webs, disease transmission or temporal interaction networks, most modularity analyses have ignored these dynamics, which can hinder our understanding of the interplay between structure and dynamics. Here we present Infomap, an established community-detection method that maps flows on networks into modules based on random walks. To illustrate and facilitate the usage of Infomap on ecological networks, we also provide a fully documented repository with technical explanations and examples, and an open-source R package, infomapecology. Infomap is a flexible tool that works on many network types, including directed and undirected networks, bipartite (e.g., plant-pollinator) and unipartite (e.g., food webs) networks, and multilayer networks (e.g., spat...Continue Reading

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