Advanced search
Start date

Ecological and evolutionary cascades in mutualistic networks

Grant number: 13/13319-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2014
Effective date (End): October 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior
Grantee:Marília Palumbo Gaiarsa
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):14/20572-1 - How cascading effects propagate in mutualistic networks: incorporating species role and natural history, BE.EP.DR


Species and communities are threatened as a result of habitat alterations and destructions. Therefore, it is important to understand how ecological communities are affected by species extinctions. Species in a community are connected through ecological interactions, such as mutualisms. In this sense, the effects of a species' extinction can cascade throughout the community. This work aims to develop theoretical predictions regarding the ecological and evolutionary consequences of cascading effects in ecological networks. Specifically, the following questions will be explored: 1. How the cascading effects are affected by the structure of mutualistic networks? 2. How the topological properties of the networks and/or the characteristics of its component species and their interactions influence the propagation of cascading effects? 3. How the extinction of one species alters the evolutionary dynamics of the networks? It is expected that the more connected species will be the most responsible for the cascading effects propagation. To explore these questions, methods derived from the random Boolean networks will be used. This approach will be combined with the description of the structure of ecological networks, theory on complex network flow, natural history data and an evolutionary model. First, the structure of the ecological networks will be characterized. Then, cascading effects will be simulated through random Boolean networks, and methods on ecological network flow will be employed to evaluate what is the relationship between the observed structural patterns and the propagation of cascading effects. Afterwards, data on the biology and natural history of the network' species will be included in the analyses and how the cascading effects propagate after this modification will be investigated. Finally, this project will examine the possible evolutionary consequences of perturbations on the structure and dynamic of mutualistic networks. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
GAIARSA, MARILIA P.; GUIMARAES, JR., PAULO R. Interaction strength promotes robustness against cascading effects in mutualistic networks. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 9, JAN 24 2019. Web of Science Citations: 1.
HUTCHINSON, MATTHEW C.; GAIARSA, MARILIA P.; STOUFFER, DANIEL B. Contemporary Ecological Interactions Improve Models of Past Trait Evolution. Systematic Biology, v. 67, n. 5, p. 861-872, SEP 2018. Web of Science Citations: 1.
PONISIO, LAUREN C.; GAIARSA, MARILIA P.; KREMEN, CLAIRE. Opportunistic attachment assembles plant-pollinator networks. ECOLOGY LETTERS, v. 20, n. 10, p. 1261-1272, OCT 2017. Web of Science Citations: 16.
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
GAIARSA, Marília Palumbo. Cascading effects in mutualistic networks. 2017. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências São Paulo.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: