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Data from: Consequences of plant invasions on compartmentalization and species’ roles in plant–pollinator networks


Albrecht, Matthias; Padrón, Benigno; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Traveset, Anna (2014), Data from: Consequences of plant invasions on compartmentalization and species’ roles in plant–pollinator networks, Dryad, Dataset,


Compartmentalization—the organization of ecological interaction networks into subsets of species that do not interact with other subsets (true compartments) or interact more frequently among themselves than with other species (modules)—has been identified as a key property for the functioning, stability and evolution of ecological communities. Invasions by entomophilous invasive plants may profoundly alter the way interaction networks are compartmentalized. We analysed a comprehensive dataset of 40 paired plant–pollinator networks (invaded versus uninvaded) to test this hypothesis. We show that invasive plants have higher generalization levels with respect to their pollinators than natives. The consequences for network topology are that—rather than displacing native species from the network—plant invaders attracting pollinators into invaded modules tend to play new important topological roles (i.e. network hubs, module hubs and connectors) and cause role shifts in native species, creating larger modules that are more connected among each other. While the number of true compartments was lower in invaded compared with uninvaded networks, the effect of invasion on modularity was contingent on the study system. Interestingly, the generalization level of the invasive plants partially explains this pattern, with more generalized invaders contributing to a lower modularity. Our findings indicate that the altered interaction structure of invaded networks makes them more robust against simulated random secondary species extinctions, but more vulnerable when the typically highly connected invasive plants go extinct first. The consequences and pathways by which biological invasions alter the interaction structure of plant–pollinator communities highlighted in this study may have important dynamical and functional implications, for example, by influencing multi-species reciprocal selection regimes and coevolutionary processes.

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