National Projects
Project duration: 
Nov 2014 to Nov 2016

We live in a highly heterogeneous world. Even the most uniform habitats show important levels of spatial variability in environmental conditions, with consequences on local community composition. In addition, community structure is contingent to dispersal capacity, interactions between species, immigration and emigration rates, and disturbances.  


Therefore, local differences in species assemblages are expected even under similar environmental conditions. Because species interact with one another, spatial heterogeneity in species community structure may have profound effects on interaction identity and strength (network structure), which in turn may affect ecosystem functioning. Surprisingly, however, spatial variability has so far been mostly ignored in studies of mutualistic networks .

A complicating factor when establishing the relationship between species community and interaction structure lies in the fact that a given species may behave differently in different environments or community contexts. Just as only a non-random subset of species from the regional pool occurs at a given site.  However, and because of context-dependency, the relationship between species composition and interaction composition may not be straightforward.

The aim of or study is to analyze the relationship between spatial heterogeneity, species community structure, interaction network structure, and ecological function. To do this we will take advantage of natural within-habitat heterogeneity in plant-pollinator community structure and we will experimentally manipulate the structure of natural communities. In the first part of the project, we will study within-habitat spatial variation in plant-pollinator interactions and network structure by sampling  plots within an area of uninterrupted scrubland. Moreover 

we will evaluate the consequences of interaction spatial variation on ecological function (pollination) by measuring stigmatic pollen loads on the plant species in the community. In the second part of the project, we will measure the response of pollination networks to experimental changes in community structure. To do this, we will run a replicated experiment in which

two new species will be added to the focal community. We will measure the extent of interaction re-wiring and the effects on plants pollination. 

  • Heterogeneïtat espacial en comunitats planta-pol.linitzador