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Metacommunity robustness of plant–fly–wasp tripartite networks with specialization to habitat loss

Liao, Jinbao, Xi, Xinqiang, Bearup, Daniel, Sun, Shucun (2020) Metacommunity robustness of plant–fly–wasp tripartite networks with specialization to habitat loss. Ecology, . ISSN 0012-9658. (doi:10.1002/ecy.3071) (KAR id:81760)

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Recent observations have found plant‐species‐specific fly‐host selection (i.e., specialization) of wasp parasitoids (wasps) in plant–fly–wasp (P–F–W) tripartite networks, yet no study has explored the dynamical implications of such high‐order specialization for the persistence of this network. Here we develop a patch‐dynamic framework for a unique P–F–W tripartite network with specialization observed in eastern Tibetan Plateau and explore its metacommunity robustness to habitat loss. We show that specialization in parasitoidism promotes fly species diversity, while the richness of both plant and wasp decreases. Compared to other two null models, real network structure favors plant species coexistence but increases the extinction risk for both flies and wasps. However, these effects of specialization and network structure would be weakened and ultimately disappear with increasing habitat loss. Interestingly, intermediate levels of habitat loss can maximize the diversity of flies and wasps, while increasing or decreasing habitat loss results in more species losses, supporting intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Finally, we observe that high levels of habitat loss initiate a bottom‐up cascade of species extinction from plants to both flies and wasps, resulting in a rapid collapse of the whole tripartite networks. Overall, this theoretical framework is the first attempt to characterize the dynamics of whole tripartite metacommunities interacting in realistic high‐order ways, offering new insights into complex multipartite networks.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ecy.3071
Uncontrolled keywords: habitat loss; higher-order interactions; metacommunity robustness; parasitism/parasitoidism; patch-dynamic model; specialization; tripartite networks
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Depositing User: Daniel Bearup
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2020 09:47 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 00:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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