Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Structure, spatial dynamics, and stability of novel seed dispersal mutualistic networks in Hawai'i.

Abstract

Increasing rates of human-caused species invasions and extinctions may reshape communities and modify the structure, dynamics, and stability of species interactions. To investigate how such changes affect communities, we performed multiscale analyses of seed dispersal networks on O'ahu, Hawai'i. Networks consisted exclusively of novel interactions, were largely dominated by introduced species, and exhibited specialized and modular structure at local and regional scales, despite high interaction dissimilarity across communities. Furthermore, the structure and stability of the novel networks were similar to native-dominated communities worldwide. Our findings suggest that shared evolutionary history is not a necessary process for the emergence of complex network structure, and interaction patterns may be highly conserved, regardless of species identity and environment. Introduced species can quickly become well integrated into novel networks, making restoration of native ecosystems more challenging than previously thought.