Poisot T., Canard E., Mouillot D., Mouquet N. and Gravel D. (2012).

Ecology Letters, 15, 1353-1361, doi:10.1111/ele.12002

Key message :Here, we propose a general framework to study the dissimilarity of species interaction networks over time, space or environments, allowing both the use of quantitative and qualitative data. We decompose network dissimilarity into interactions and species turnover components, so that it is immediately comparable to common measures of b-diversity. We emphasise that scaling up b-diversity of community composition to the b-diversity of interactions requires only a small methodological step, which we foresee will help empiricists adopt this method. We illustrate the framework with a large dataset of hosts and parasites interactions and highlight other possible usages. We discuss a research agenda towards a biogeographical theory of species interactions. The integration of biogeography and network theory will yield important results and further our understanding of species interactions.

Five species regional network (metaweb - on the right-hand side), with two primary producers (squares), two consumers (circles) and one top predator (triangle). Three local realisations (in the grey patches) are shown. The metaweb can be built by integrating all the interactions at the largest possible scale. Complexity stems from the fact that some interactions found in the metaweb (i.e. between the white round and the white square species) may not occur at all locations. Although it is easy to measure alpha and gamma diversities for the species (s subscript) or interactions (i subscript), there is no available method to measure the beta diversity of the later. We propose such an approach in this article.

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OTHER TOPICS: Aesthetics of Biodiversity, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning, Biogeography, Macroecology & Ecophylogenetics, Experimental Evolution, Functional Biogeography, Functional Rarity, Metacommunities, Metaecosystems, Reviews and Synthesis, Trophic Biogeography & Metaweb