Skip to main content
Dryad logo

A patch-dynamic metacommunity perspective on the persistence of mutualistic and antagonistic bipartite networks


Liao, Jinbao; Bearup, Daniel; Strona, Giovanni (2022), A patch-dynamic metacommunity perspective on the persistence of mutualistic and antagonistic bipartite networks, Dryad, Dataset,


The structure of interactions between species within a community plays a key role in maintaining biodiversity. Previous studies have found that the effects of these structures might substantially differ depending on interaction type, for example, a highly connected and nested architecture stabilizes mutualistic communities, while the stability of antagonistic communities is enhanced in modular and weakly connected structures. Here we show that, when network dynamics are modelled using a patch-dynamic metacommunity framework, the qualitative differences between antagonistic and mutualistic systems disappear, with nestedness and modularity interacting to promote metacommunity persistence. However, the interactive effects are significantly weaker in antagonistic metacommunities. Our model also predicts an increase in connectance, nestedness and modularity over time in both types of interaction, except in antagonistic networks where nestedness declines. At steady state, we find a strong negative correlation between nestedness and modularity in both mutualistic and antagonistic metacommunities. These predictions are consistent with the structural trends found in a large dataset of real-world antagonistic and mutualistic communities.


This dataset was collected from previous literature or from the website of database. Please see more details below:

1. Data set referring to "plant-ant', "pollination", "seed-dispersal", "plant-herbivory" & "host-parasite" from the website of Jordi Bascompte's lab:
2. "Plant-herbivory003" from "Vojtech Novotny, Scott E Miller, Jan Hrcek, Leontine Baje, Yves Basset, Owen T Lewis, Alan JA Stewart, and George D Weiblen. Insects on plants: explaining the paradox of low diversity within specialist herbivore guilds. The American Naturalist, 179(3):351–362, 2012."
3. "Fishparasite001-030" from "Sybelle Bellay, Edson Fontes de Oliveira, Mário Almeida-Neto, Dilermando Pereira Lima Junior, Ricardo Massato Takemoto, and José Luis Luque. Developmental stage of parasites influences the structure of fish-parasite networks. PloS one, 8(10):e75710, 2013."
4. “Plant-Herbivory001-003,008-015,” from "PAULO INáCIO PRADO, & Lewinsohn, T. M. . (2004). Compartments in insect–plant associations and their consequences for community structure. Journal of Animal Ecology, 73(6), 1168-1178." & "Morrison, B. M. L. , Brosi, B. J. , & Dirzo, R. . (2020). Agricultural intensification drives changes in hybrid network robustness by modifying network structure. Ecology Letters, 23, 359-369."
5. “Plant-herbivory016”from "Sebastien Ibanez, Sandra Lavorel, Sara Puijalon, and Marco Moretti. (2013). Herbivory mediated by coupling between biomechanical traits of plants and grasshoppers. Functional Ecology, 27(2):479–489."
6. “Hostparasite052-083”from "Shai Pilosof, Miguel A Fortuna, Maxim V Vinarski, Natalia P Korallo-Vinarskaya, and Boris R Krasnov. (2013). Temporal dynamics of direct reciprocal and indirect effects in a host–parasite network. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82(5), 987-996." & “Boris R Krasnov, Miguel A Fortuna, David Mouillot, Irina S Khokhlova, Georgy I Shenbrot, and Robert Poulin. (2012) Phylogenetic signal in module composition and species connectivity in compartmentalized hostparasite networks. The American Naturalist, 179(4):501–511.”
7. Data set about "Seed-eating insects", "Seed-eating birds" and "Seed-eating rodents" from: Sauve, A.M.C., Thébault, E., Pocock, M.J.O., & Fontaine, C. (2016). How plants connect pollination and herbivory networks and their contribution to community stability. Ecology 97, 908-917.
8. Data set about "Plant-fly" and "fly-wasp" from: Xi, X., Yang, Y., Yang, Y., Segoli, M., & Sun, S. (2017). Plant-mediated resource partitioning by coexisting parasitoids. Ecology 98, 1660-1670.

Usage Notes

Empirical mutualistic and antagonistic networks compiled in "" data consisting of 148 plant-pollinator, 34 plant-seed disperser, and 4 plant-ant systems, while "" including 17 plant-herbivore, 83 host-parasite, 1 seed-eating bird, 30 fish-parasite, 1 fly-wasp, 1 plant-fly, 1 seed-eating insect and 1 seed-eating rodent systems. More detailed data sources seen in 'Readme.txt'.

These binary data were edited as csv format, with the rows representing resource basal species (e.g., plants, hosts, seeds, fish, etc.) while the columns being consumers (e.g., herbivores, birds, parasites, wasps, insects, ants, pollinators, seed dispersers, etc.). In these data, the binary value "0" represents there is no interaction between both species while "1" means both species can interact. 


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31901175

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31760172