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Data from: Species traits and abundances predict metrics of plant–pollinator network structure, but not pairwise interactions


Olito, Colin; Fox, Jeremy W. (2015), Data from: Species traits and abundances predict metrics of plant–pollinator network structure, but not pairwise interactions, Dryad, Dataset,


Plant–pollinator mutualistic networks represent the ecological context of foraging (for pollinators) and reproduction (for plants and some pollinators). Plant–pollinator visitation networks exhibit highly conserved structural properties across diverse habitats and species assemblages. The most successful hypotheses to explain these network properties are the neutrality and biological constraints hypotheses, which posit that species interaction frequencies can be explained by species relative abundances, and trait mismatches between potential mutualists respectively. However, previous network analyses emphasize the prediction of metrics of qualitative network structure, which may not represent stringent tests of these hypotheses. Using a newly documented temporally explicit alpine plant–pollinator visitation network, we show that metrics of both qualitative and quantitative network structure are easy to predict, even by models that predict the identity or frequency of species interactions poorly. A variety of phenological and morphological constraints as well as neutral interactions successfully predicted all network metrics tested, without accurately predicting species observed interactions. Species phenology alone was the best predictor of observed interaction frequencies. However, all models were poor predictors of species pairwise interaction frequencies, suggesting that other aspects of species biology not generally considered in network studies, such as reproduction for dipterans, play an important role in shaping plant–pollinator visitation network structure at this site. Future progress in explaining the structure and dynamics of mutualistic networks will require new approaches that emphasize accurate prediction of species pairwise interactions rather than network metrics, and better reflect the biology underlying species interactions.

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Canadian Rockies
Kananaskis Country