Artículos de revistas
The dimensionality of ecological networks
Ecology Letters, v. 16, n. 5, p. 577-583, 2013.
University of Chicago
Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science
Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats (CSIC-UIB)
Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas, CONICET
University of Copenhagen
University of Canterbury
Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab
How many dimensions (trait-axes) are required to predict whether two species interact? This unanswered question originated with the idea of ecological niches, and yet bears relevance today for understanding what determines network structure. Here, we analyse a set of 200 ecological networks, including food webs, antagonistic and mutualistic networks, and find that the number of dimensions needed to completely explain all interactions is small (< 10), with model selection favouring less than five. Using 18 high-quality webs including several species traits, we identify which traits contribute the most to explaining network structure. We show that accounting for a few traits dramatically improves our understanding of the structure of ecological networks. Matching traits for resources and consumers, for example, fruit size and bill gape, are the most successful combinations. These results link ecologically important species attributes to large-scale community structure. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.