Jul 23, 2014

The emergence of network structure, complementarity and convergence from basic ecological and genetic processes

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Francisco Encinas-VisoRampal S Etienne


Plant-animal mutualistic networks are highly diverse and structured. This has been explained by coevolution through niche based processes. However, this explanation is only warranted if neutral processes (e.g. limited dispersal, genetic and ecological drift) cannot explain these patterns. Here we present a spatially explicit model based on explicit genetics and quantitative traits to study the connection between genome evolution, speciation and plant-animal network demography. We consider simple processes for the speciation dynamics of plant-animal mutualisms: ecological (dispersal, demography) and genetic processes (mutation, recombination, drift) and morphological constraints (matching of quantitative trait) for species interactions, particularly mating. We find the evolution of trait convergence and complementarity and topological features observed in real plant-animal mutualistic webs (i.e. nestedness and centrality). Furthermore, the morphological constraint for plant reproduction generates higher centrality among plant individuals (and species) than in animals, consistent with observations. We argue that simple processes are able to reproduce some well known ecological and evolutionary patterns of plant-animal mutualistic...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Recombination, Genetic
Genetic Activator
Convergence - Direction
Mutation Abnormality
Biological Evolution

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