News News

Unifying facilitation and recruitment networks

Ecological network studies are providing important advances about the organization, stability and dynamics of ecological systems. However, the ecological networks approach is being integrated very slowly in plant community ecology, even though the first studies on plant facilitation networks were published more than a decade ago. The study of interaction networks between established plants and plants recruiting beneath them, which are called Recruitment Networks (RNs), can provide new insights on mechanisms driving plant community structure and dynamics. RNs basically describe which plants recruit under which others, so they can be seen as a generalisation of the classic Facilitation Networks (FNs) since they do not imply any particular effect (positive, negative or neutral) of the established plants on recruiting ones. RNs summarise information on the structure of sapling banks. More importantly, the information included in RNs can be incorporated into models of replacement dynamics to evaluate how different aspects of network structure, or different mechanisms of network assembly, may affect plant community stability and species coexistence. To allow an efficient development of the study of FNs and RNs, here concepts were unified, current knowledge was synthesised, some conceptual issues were clarified, and basic methodological guidelines were proposed to standardise sampling methods that could make future studies of these networks directly comparable. Moreover, interested researchers are invited to collaborate in a global database of recruitment networks that is being built until the end of 2020, using the sampling protocols and recommendations provided. More information available at informacion[at] Alcántara et al (2019) Unifying facilitation and recruitment networks. J Veg Science. DOI 10.1111/jvs.12795
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

The bycatch of sea turtles by industrial fisheries is receiving an increasing attention in recent years due to the high impact it causes on these endangered species. This issue was evaluated in...

The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

Plants and their dispersers form interaction networks whose structure has important implications for the persistence and stability of the community. Frugivory is vital for the dispersal of many...

Mosquitoes are attracted to Plasmodium-infected birds

Parasites can manipulate their hosts to increase their transmission success. Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium) are thought to alter the cues such as host odour, used by host-seeking mosquitoes....