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Closed Access item Asymmetric Coevolutionary Networks Facilitate Biodiversity Maintenance

Authors:Bascompte, Jordi
Jordano, Pedro
Olesen, Niels J.
Issue Date:Apr-2006
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
Citation:Science 321(5772) : 431-433 (2006)
Abstract:The mutualistic interactions between plants and their pollinators or seed dispersers have played a major role in the maintenance of Earth’s biodiversity. To investigate how coevolutionary interactions are shaped within species-rich communities, we characterized the architecture of an array of quantitative, mutualistic networks spanning a broad geographic range. These coevolutionary networks are highly asymmetric, so that if a plant species depends strongly on an animal species, the animal depends weakly on the plant. By using a simple dynamical model, we showed that asymmetries inherent in coevolutionary networks may enhance long-term coexistence and facilitate biodiversity maintenance
Publisher version (URL):http://www.sciencemag.org/content/312/5772/431.full.pdf
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