Social Wasp-Flower Visiting Guild Interactions in Less Structurally Complex Habitats are More Susceptible to Local Extinction

Mateus Aparecido Clemente, Denise Lange, Wesley Dáttilo, Kleber Del-Claro, Fábio Prezoto

Abstract


Several studies have shown that habitat complexity is an important factor for the dynamic and stability of interacting species. However, it is not known how the habitat complexity may affect the tolerance of wasp-flower interactions to local extinction. Based on this perspective, in this study, we aimed to compare the tolerance of wasp flower visiting guild to local extinction in two different types of vegetation (Riparian Forest and Rocky Grassland). Through observations made during one year, we verified that the structure of the plant-wasp interaction network differed between the two areas, as well as that the robustness to cumulative extinctions had different patterns.  The simulations of cumulative removal of species showed that the network in the Riparian Forest is more robust against the removal of both plants and wasps than that network in Rocky Grassland, since their extinction curves declined more slowly. Therefore, in our study area, we demonstrate that social wasp-plant interactions in areas with lower structural complexity are less tolerant to extinction (i.e. more fragile). We therefore suggest that studies that aim at biodiversity conservation should focus not only in areas where diversity is high, but also in area with lower species richness for the conservation of ecological roles within communities.

Keywords


ecological networks; flower-visiting; species loss; habitat complexity; robustness

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v60i3.337-344

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