Mutualistic interactions among plants and animals have played a paramount role in shaping biodiversity. Yet the majority of studies on mutualistic interactions have involved only a few species, as opposed to broader mutual connections between communities of organisms. Mutualistic Networks is the first book to comprehensively explore this burgeoning field. Integrating different approaches, from the statistical description of network structures to the development of new analytical frameworks, Jordi Bascompte and Pedro Jordano describe the architecture of these mutualistic networks and show their importance for the robustness of biodiversity and the coevolutionary process.
Making a case for why we should care about mutualisms and their complex networks, Mutualistic Networks offers a new perspective on the study and synthesis of this growing area for ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Mutualistic Networks will serve as the standard reference for all future work on mutualistic interactions in biological communities.
"[...] The ideas presented here are novel, stimulating, and above all readable, greatly assisted, in my opinion, by the use of explanatory diagrams. Mathematical formulations are present, but the bulk of this approach is held in appendices so that it does not interfere the verbal and visual development of the themes. It is a book well worthy of wide attention."
– Peter Moore, The Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 46(1), March 2015
"[A]ll ecologists will benefit from reading [Mutualistic Networks], giving this audience a better understanding of the network perspective on mutualism."
"Making a case for why we should care about mutualisms and their complex networks, this book offers a new perspective on the study and synthesis of this growing area for ecologists and evolutionary biologists. It will serve as the standard reference for any future work on mutualistic interactions in biological communities."
– Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment
"[W]hile this book is a must read for anyone studying dogs, anyone studying wildlife in areas where dogs occur will also want to read this book and consider the impacts dogs may be having within their study system."
– Julie K. Young, Ecological Society of America
"Mutualistic Networks is a book that presents a highly dynamic field in its entire breadth and historic development. [A]nyone interested in a passionate layout of a multifaceted and ecologically exciting research area will want to read it."
– Carsten F. Dormann, Basic and Applied Ecology
"Until recently, the study of mutualism was replete with lovely natural history details, but largely divorced from ecological theory. In this fine book, Bascompte and Jordano take an important step toward rectifying this situation, by applying a rich array of network tools and phylogenetically informed analyses to webs of mutualistic interactions. The authors deftly synthesize a wide range of empirical case studies and theoretical perspectives, draw a number of intriguing and unexpected conclusions, and provide useful, detailed methodological appendices which will facilitate future studies of mutualism in a community context."
– Robert D. Holt, University of Florida
"This engaging book is required reading for anyone interested in how the web of life is organized. With impeccable scholarship, a broad and careful presentation, and nuanced interpretation, it probes deep questions about the structure of biodiversity, and weaves innovative approaches with insightful interpretations."
– John Thompson, University of California, Santa Cruz
"This useful book examines the structure of mutualistic networks by delving into emerging structures from mutualistic network research, explaining what drives the structure, and investigating its implications on the robustness of ecological communities. Comprehensively reviewing this important field, this work will find a significant readership and promote further research."
– Kevin McCann, University of Guelph
Chapter 1. Biodiversity and Plant-Animal Coevolution 1
Historical Overview 1
A Bit of Natural History 6
Coevolution in Multispecific Mutualisms 12
Chapter 2. An Introduction to Complex Networks 15
A Network Approach to Complex Systems 17
Measures of Network Structure 21
Models of Network Buildup 31
Ecological Networks 32
Chapter 3. The Structure of Plant-Animal Mutualistic Networks 42
Degree Distribution 42
Small World 48
Weighted Networks 54
Comparisons with other Ecological Networks 60
Chapter 4. Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms 64
Single Ecological Traits 67
Phylogenetic Effects 77
Chapter 5. Mutualistic Networks in Time and Space 87
Network Dynamics 88
Spatial Mosaics 98
Sampling and Robustness 102
Chapter 6. Consequences of Network Structure 107
Coextinction Cascades 108
Dynamic Stability 113
Global Change and Mutualistic Networks 120
Coevolutionary Implications 126
Implications for Nonbiological Systems 132
Chapter 7. Epilogue 136
Appendix A. Indices Used in Mutualistic Network Analyses 139
Appendix B. Fitting Degree Distributions 143
Appendix C. Measures of Nestedness 147
Appendix D. Measures of Modularity 150
Appendix E. Phylogenetic Methods and Network Analysis 154
Appendix F. Null Models for Assessing Network Structure 160
Appendix G. An Analytical Theory of Mutualistic Networks 167
Fixed Points and Local Stability 167
Effects of Network Structure on Competition and Biodiversity 169
Appendix H. Software for the Analysis of Complex Networks 175
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Jordi Bascompte is a professor at the Spanish Research Council. He is the coauthor of Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems (Princeton). Pedro Jordano is a professor at the Spanish Research Council and honorary professor at the University of Sevilla.