A hybrid behavioural rule of adaptation and drift explains the emergent architecture of antagonistic networks
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Ecological processes that can realistically account for network architectures are central to our understanding of how species assemble and function in ecosystems. Consumer species are constantly selecting and adjusting which resource species are to be exploited in an antagonistic network. Here we incorporate a hybrid behavioural rule of adaptive interaction switching and random drift into a bipartite network model. Predictions are insensitive to the model parameters and the initial network structures, and agree extremely well with the observed levels of modularity, nestedness and node-degree distributions for 61 real networks. Evolutionary and community assemblage histories only indirectly affect network structure by defining the size and complexity of ecological networks, whereas adaptive interaction switching and random drift carve out the details of network architecture at the faster ecological time scale. The hybrid behavioural rule of both adaptation and drift could well be the key processes for structure emergence in real ecological networks.
- RESEARCH: Hui C