loading page

Consumption frequency and resource traits modulate the effect of plant loss on fruit-frugivore network architecture and consumer diets
  • +3
  • Tobias Nicolas Rojas,
  • Teresa Morán López,
  • Irene Bender,
  • Pedro Blendinger,
  • Roman Ruggera,
  • Renske Onstein
Tobias Nicolas Rojas
Instituto de Ecología Regional, CONICET-UNT

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Teresa Morán López
Instituto Mixto de Investigación en Biodiversidad (IMIB-CSIC-Universidad de Oviedo-Principado de Asturias)
Author Profile
Irene Bender
Instituto de Ecologia Regional, CONICET-UNT
Author Profile
Pedro Blendinger
Instituto de Ecologia Regional, CONICET-UNT
Author Profile
Roman Ruggera
Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas
Author Profile
Renske Onstein
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Author Profile


Mutualistic interactions are essential for ecosystem functioning, such as seed dispersal of plants by animals (frugivory). However, it remains unclear how species extinctions impact interaction network architecture and interaction outcomes. Here, we developed a hierarchical rewiring model based on abundances, traits and phylogeny to identify which frugivory-related traits influence changes in networks and frugivore diets in response to plant species loss. We demonstrate that network architecture and diet are strongly influenced by the total reward and the consumption frequency of fruits with unique combinations of macronutrients. However, there was an uncoupling between network architecture and diet change, suggesting that different plant species modulate network structures and frugivore diets, and the ability of frugivores to shift partners reduced the impact of fruit loss on dietary outcome. Altogether, we reveal mechanistic links between extinctions, architecture and outcomes in mutualistic ecological networks, important to predict species interactions and ecosystem functioning in a changing world.