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Trends Ecol Evol. 2015 Jun;30(6):347-56. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.014. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Inferring biotic interactions from proxies.

Author information

1
InBio/Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), Universidade de Évora, Largo dos Colegiais, 7000 Évora, Portugal; Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada.
2
InBio/Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), Universidade de Évora, Largo dos Colegiais, 7000 Évora, Portugal; Departmento de Biogeografía y Cambio Global, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain; Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK.
3
Département de Biologie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada; Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science, Montreal, QC, Canada.
4
InBio/Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), Universidade de Évora, Largo dos Colegiais, 7000 Évora, Portugal; Departmento de Biogeografía y Cambio Global, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain; Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: maraujo@mncn.csic.es.

Abstract

Inferring biotic interactions from functional, phylogenetic and geographical proxies remains one great challenge in ecology. We propose a conceptual framework to infer the backbone of biotic interaction networks within regional species pools. First, interacting groups are identified to order links and remove forbidden interactions between species. Second, additional links are removed by examination of the geographical context in which species co-occur. Third, hypotheses are proposed to establish interaction probabilities between species. We illustrate the framework using published food-webs in terrestrial and marine systems. We conclude that preliminary descriptions of the web of life can be made by careful integration of data with theory.

PMID:
25922148
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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