Data from: Does biological intimacy shape ecological network structure? A test using a brood pollination mutualism on continental and oceanic islands
Hembry, David H. et al. (2019), Data from: Does biological intimacy shape ecological network structure? A test using a brood pollination mutualism on continental and oceanic islands, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1224pr2
Biological intimacy—the degree of physical proximity or integration of partner taxa during their life cycles—is thought to promote the evolution of reciprocal specialization and modularity in the networks formed by co‐occurring mutualistic species, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested.
Here, we test this “biological intimacy hypothesis” by comparing the network architecture of brood pollination mutualisms, in which specialized insects are simultaneously parasites (as larvae) and pollinators (as adults) of their host plants to that of other mutualisms which vary in their biological intimacy (including ant‐myrmecophyte, ant‐extrafloral nectary, plant‐pollinator and plant‐seed disperser assemblages).
We use a novel dataset sampled from leafflower trees (Phyllanthaceae: Phyllanthus s. l. [Glochidion]) and their pollinating leafflower moths (Lepidoptera: Epicephala) on three oceanic islands (French Polynesia) and compare it to equivalent published data from congeners on continental islands (Japan). We infer taxonomic diversity of leafflower moths using multilocus molecular phylogenetic analysis and examine several network structural properties: modularity (compartmentalization), reciprocality (symmetry) of specialization and algebraic connectivity.
We find that most leafflower‐moth networks are reciprocally specialized and modular, as hypothesized. However, we also find that two oceanic island networks differ in their modularity and reciprocal specialization from the others, as a result of a supergeneralist moth taxon which interacts with nine of 10 available hosts.
Our results generally support the biological intimacy hypothesis, finding that leafflower‐moth networks (usually) share a reciprocally specialized and modular structure with other intimate mutualisms such as ant‐myrmecophyte symbioses, but unlike nonintimate mutualisms such as seed dispersal and nonintimate pollination. Additionally, we show that generalists—common in nonintimate mutualisms—can also evolve in intimate mutualisms, and that their effect is similar in both types of assemblages: once generalists emerge they reshape the network organization by connecting otherwise isolated modules.
National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0451971; Graduate Research Fellowship Program