Browsing by Subject "keystone species"

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  • Marjakangas, Emma-Liina; Abrego, Nerea; Grøtan, Vidar; de Lima, Renato A. F.; Bello, Carolina; Bovendorp, Ricardo S.; Culot, Laurence; Hasui, Érica; Lima, Fernando; Muylaert, Renata Lara; Niebuhr, Bernardo Brandão; Oliveira, Alexandre A.; Pereira, Lucas Augusto; Prado, Paulo I.; Stevens, Richard D.; Vancine, Maurício Humberto; Ribeiro, Milton Cezar; Galetti, Mauro; Ovaskainen, Otso (2020)
    Abstract Aim Forest fragmentation is among the principal causes of global biodiversity loss, yet how it affects mutualistic interactions between plants and animals at large spatial scale is poorly understood. In particular, tropical forest regeneration depends on animal-mediated seed dispersal, but the seed-dispersing animals face rapid decline due to forest fragmentation and defaunation. Here, we assess how fragmentation influences the pairwise interactions between 407 seed disperser and 1,424 tree species in a highly fragmented biodiversity hotspot. Location Atlantic Forest, South America. Methods We predicted interaction networks in 912 sites covering the entire biome by combining verified interaction data with co-occurrence probabilities obtained from a spatially explicit joint species distribution model. We identified keystone seed dispersers by computing a species-specific keystone index and by selecting those species belonging to the top 5% quantile. Results We show that forest fragmentation affects seed dispersal interactions negatively, and the decreased area of functionally connected forest, rather than increased edge effects, is the main driver behind the loss of interactions. Both the seed disperser availability for the local tree communities and in particular the proportion of interactions provided by keystone seed dispersers decline with increasing degree of fragmentation. Importantly, just 21 keystone species provided >40% of all interactions. The numbers of interactions provided by keystone and non-keystone species, however, were equally negatively affected by fragmentation, suggesting that seed dispersal interactions may not be rewired under strong fragmentation effects. Conclusions We highlight the importance of understanding the fragmentation-induced compositional shifts in seed disperser communities as they may lead to lagged and multiplicative effects on tree communities. Our results illustrate the utility of model-based prediction of interaction networks as well as model-based identification of keystone species as a tool for prioritizing conservation efforts. Similar modelling approaches could be applied to other threatened ecosystems and interaction types globally.
  • Burgas, Daniel; Ovaskainen, Otso; Blanchet, F. Guillaume; Byholm, Patrik (2021)
    Despite the wide recognition that strongly interacting species can influence distributions of other species, species interactions are often disregarded when assessing or projecting biodiversity distributions. In particular, it remains largely uncharted the extent to which the disappearance of a keystone species cast repercussions in the species composition of future communities. We tested whether an avian top predator can exert both positive and negative effects on spatial distribution of other species, and if these effects persist even after the predator disappeared. We acquired bird count data at different distances from occupied and non-occupied nests of Northern goshawks Accipiter gentilis. Using a Bayesian joint species distribution model, we found that large bird species (preferred prey) are less abundant in the proximity of nests occupied by goshawks, whereas smaller species -expected to get protection from subordinate predators displaced by goshawks- more often showed an opposite association. These spatial differences level off gradually, but still persist for years after the goshawks have disappeared. This indicates that the composition of local bird populations and communities might be conditional on past species interactions. Therefore, endeavors centered around species distributions could largely benefit from acknowledging the local extinction of keystone species.