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A patch-dynamic metacommunity perspective on the persistence of mutualistic and antagonistic bipartite networks

Liao, Jinbao, Bearup, Daniel, Strona, Giovanni (2022) A patch-dynamic metacommunity perspective on the persistence of mutualistic and antagonistic bipartite networks. Ecology, 103 (6). Article Number e3686. ISSN 0012-9658. (doi:10.1002/ecy.3686) (KAR id:93522)

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The structure of interactions between species within a community plays a key role in maintaining biodiversity. Previous studies have found that the effects of these structures might substantially differ depending on interaction type, for example, a highly connected and nested architecture stabilizes mutualistic communities, while the stability of antagonistic communities is enhanced in modular and weakly connected structures. Here we show that, when network dynamics are modelled using a patch-dynamic metacommunity framework, the qualitative differences between antagonistic and mutualistic systems disappear, with nestedness and modularity interacting to promote metacommunity persistence. However, the interactive effects are significantly weaker in antagonistic metacommunities. Our model also predicts an increase in connectance, nestedness and modularity over time in both types of interaction, except in antagonistic networks where nestedness declines. At steady state, we find a strong negative correlation between nestedness and modularity in both mutualistic and antagonistic metacommunities. These predictions are consistent with the structural trends found in a large dataset of real-world antagonistic and mutualistic communities.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ecy.3686
Uncontrolled keywords: ecological networks, mutualism, antagonism, network structure, metacommunity persistence, nestedness, modularity
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Funders: National Natural Science Foundation of China (
Depositing User: Daniel Bearup
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2022 10:00 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2023 14:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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