Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Species interactions-area relationships: biological invasions and network structure in relation to island area.

Abstract

The relationship between species number and island area is a fundamental rule in ecology. However, the extent to which interactions with exotic species and how the structure of species interactions is related to island area remain unexplored. Here, I document the relationship between island area and (i) interactions with exotic species and (ii) network structure of species interactions in the context of mutualistic interactions between ants and extrafloral nectary-bearing plants on the oceanic Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands, Japan. Pooled data contained 122 interactions among 19 plant (including five exotic) and 23 ant (including 20 exotic) species. Of the observed interactions, 82.8 per cent involved at least one exotic species, ranging from 68.2 to 86.4 per cent among islands. The number of links including exotic species increased in proportion to island area, although the number of links excluding exotic species did not. These results indicate that the number of interactions with exotic species increased in proportion to island area. Connectance, or the proportion of interactions actually observed among all possible interactions, decreased with island area. Nestedness, an asymmetry index in the species interaction network, also decreased with island area. Therefore, island area affects both the number of interactions with exotic species and the network structure.