Dec 20, 2017

The compound topology of a continent-wide interaction network explained by an integrative hypothesis of specialization

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gabriel M F FélixMarco A R Mello


Is there a prevalent pattern among interaction networks: nestedness or modularity? Is there a single optimal strategy to exploit resources: generalism or specialization? These two questions have been addressed in various systems, with contradictory results. A recent integrative hypothesis combines both questions within a common theoretical framework, proposing that ecological specialization is structured by different prevailing processes in smaller and larger network units. This should produce both a compound interaction network, formed by internally nested modules, and a scale-dependence on the relationship between consumer's performance and generalism. Here, we confirm both predictions in a large dataset of host-parasite interactions. We show that modules indeed constraint nestedness at the whole network level, and that the relationship between parasite's generalism and performance changed from negative at large to positive at small scales. Our results shed light on both debates, and provide some clues to their integration and solution.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Compound (Substance)
Silo (Dataset)
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Fluoromethyl 2,2-difluoro-1-(trifluoromethyl)vinyl ether

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