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Functional Ecology 2009, 23, 196202 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01472.x 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 British Ecological Society
 

Summary: Functional Ecology 2009, 23, 196­202 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01472.x
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Body size predicts degree in ant­plant mutualistic
networks
S. A. Chamberlain* and J. N. Holland
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Summary
1. The complexity of ecological communities can often hinder understanding their structural
features. With the recent application of network theory, the structure of previously neglected
mutualistic communities has begun to be elucidated.
2. Mutualistic communities have now been shown to follow particular power distributions in their
degree, that is, the number of species interactions per species. However, predictive variables of
degree and other structures of mutualistic networks remain largely unexplored.
3. Here, we show that body size of ants is positively correlated with their degree in mutualistic
networkscomprisedof antinteractionswithextrafloralnectar(EFN)bearingplantsintheSonoran
Desert. This pattern in body size and the number of plant species with which ants interact occurred
among all eight sampled communities, a relationship which was not contingent upon phylogenetic
history among ant species.
4. Theseresultsindicatethatfurtherstudyof bodysizeinant­plantandothermutualisticnetworks

  

Source: Azevedo, Ricardo - Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston
Holland, J. Nathaniel - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology