Fragmented tropical forests lose mutualistic plant–animal interactions

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Marjakangas , E-L , Abrego , N , Grøtan , V , de Lima , R A F , Bello , C , Bovendorp , R S , Culot , L , Hasui , É , Lima , F , Muylaert , R L , Niebuhr , B B , Oliveira , A A , Pereira , L A , Prado , P I , Stevens , R D , Vancine , M H , Ribeiro , M C , Galetti , M & Ovaskainen , O 2020 , ' Fragmented tropical forests lose mutualistic plant–animal interactions ' , Diversity and Distributions , vol. 26 , no. 2 , pp. 154-168 .

Title: Fragmented tropical forests lose mutualistic plant–animal interactions
Author: 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
Contributor organization: Department of Agricultural Sciences
Research Centre for Ecological Change
Plant Production Sciences
Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group
Otso Ovaskainen / Principal Investigator
Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Date: 2020-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Diversity and Distributions
ISSN: 1366-9516
Abstract: 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.
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
4112 Forestry
Atlantic Forest
ecological network
Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities
joint species distribution model
keystone species
seed dispersal
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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