Data from: High temporal variability in the occurrence of consumer–resource interactions in ecological networks
Lopez, Daniela N.; Camus, Patricio A.; Valdivia, Nelson; Estay, Sergio A. (2018), Data from: High temporal variability in the occurrence of consumer–resource interactions in ecological networks, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f0h35
Ecological networks have been used to represent interactions between species as fixed linkages despite that populations naturally oscillate over time and space. As such, the influence of the persistence of linkages between species in communities has been overlooked. Unfortunately, empirical analysis of the temporal variation of trophic networks is constrained by the lack of data with high spatial, temporal and taxonomic resolution. Here, we evaluate the spatiotemporal variability of multiple consumer-resource interactions to quantify the relative dominance of highly persistent versus poorly persistent interactions, the commonness of the interaction persistence patterns, and the effect of biotic and abiotic conditions on these patterns. We took advantage of a dataset from four large marine intertidal rocky-shore networks monitored seasonally for three years along 1000 km of the coast of northern Chile. Our results showed that the communities were characterized by few persistent interactions and a large number of transient trophic interactions, which was well described by a common exponential decay in the rank-frequency relationship of consumer–resource interactions despite dissimilarities in environmental conditions among sites. These results were independent of the degree of consumer–resource co-occurrence. Our results stress the need for more long-term studies that evaluate the temporal variability of ecological networks.