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Population Dynamics Model

Our model described in Valdovinos et al. (2013) includes the trophic dimension of mutualistic interactions by explicitly modeling the dynamics of the resources including floral rewards. In this way we could incorporate the next biologically important process within the analysis of mutualistic networks: 1) the production and animal consumption rates of plant rewards, 2) the competition and/or facilitation among plants via shared pollen/seed animal vectors, 3) the competition among animals for plant rewards, and 4) the animals’ allocation of foraging efforts. These processes were neglected by the traditional models of mutualistic networks, which simply represent mutualistic relationships as phenomenological positive effects among species. Our research shows that these four processes affect the interplay of network structure and dynamics which some studies have documented over the last years, such as the effects of nestedness, connectance and richness on the species persistence of those networks.

Key Papers

Valdovinos, F.S., Moisset de Espanés, P., Flores J.D, Ramos-Jiliberto, R. (2013) Adaptive foraging allows the maintenance of biodiversity of pollination networks. Oikos 122: 907-917.

Valdovinos, F.S & Marsland III, R. (2021) Niche theory for mutualism: A graphical approach to plant-pollinator network dynamics. The American Naturalist, 197, 393-404.

Valdovinos, F.S. (2019) Mutualistic Networks: Moving closer to a predictive theory. Ecology Letters, 22, 1517-1534, DOI: 10.1111/ele.13279