The macroecology of phylogenetically structured hummingbird-plant networks
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Aim To investigate the association between species richness, species' phylogenetic signal, insularity and historical and current climate with hummingbird-plant network structure. Location 54 communities along a c. 10,000 kilometer latitudinal gradient across the Americas (39ºN - 32ºS), ranging from sea level to c. 3700 m asl, located on the mainland and on islands, and covering a wide range of climate regimes. Methods We measured null-modeled corrected complementary specialization and bipartite modularity (compartmentalization) in networks of quantitative interactions between hummingbird and plant species. Using an ordinary least squares multi-model approach, we examined the influence of species richness, phylogenetic signal, insularity, and current and historical climate conditions on network structure. Results Phylogenetically-related species, especially plants, showed a tendency to interact with a similar array of partners. The spatial variation in network structure exhibited a constant association with species' phylogeny (R2=0.18-0.19). Species richness and environmental factors showed the strongest associations with network structure (R2=0.20-0.44; R2138 =0.32-0.45, respectively). Specifically, higher levels of complementary specialization and modularity were associated to species-rich communities and communities in which closely-related hummingbirds visited distinct sets of flowering species. On the mainland, warmer temperatures and higher historical temperature stability associated to higher levels of complementary specialization. Main conclusions Previous macroecological studies of interaction networks have highlighted the importance of environment and species richness in determining network structure. Here, for the first time, we report an association between species phylogenetic signal and network structure at macroecological scale. Specifically, null model corrected complementary specialization and modularity exhibited a positive association with species richness and a negative association with hummingbird phylogenetic signal, indicating that both high richness and high inter-specific competition among closely-related 150 hummingbirds exhibit important relationships with specialization in hummingbird-plant networks. Our results document how species richness, phylogenetic signal and climate associate with network structure in complex ways at macroecological scale.
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