Interaction rewiring and the rapid turnover of plant–pollinator networks

Paul J. CaraDonna, William K. Petry, Ross M. Brennan, James L. Cunningham, Judith L. Bronstein, Nickolas M. Waser, Nathan J. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

216 Scopus citations


Whether species interactions are static or change over time has wide-reaching ecological and evolutionary consequences. However, species interaction networks are typically constructed from temporally aggregated interaction data, thereby implicitly assuming that interactions are fixed. This approach has advanced our understanding of communities, but it obscures the timescale at which interactions form (or dissolve) and the drivers and consequences of such dynamics. We address this knowledge gap by quantifying the within-season turnover of plant–pollinator interactions from weekly censuses across 3 years in a subalpine ecosystem. Week-to-week turnover of interactions (1) was high, (2) followed a consistent seasonal progression in all years of study and (3) was dominated by interaction rewiring (the reassembly of interactions among species). Simulation models revealed that species’ phenologies and relative abundances constrained both total interaction turnover and rewiring. Our findings reveal the diversity of species interactions that may be missed when the temporal dynamics of networks are ignored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-394
Number of pages10
JournalEcology letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Adaptive foraging
  • beta-diversity
  • community composition
  • food webs
  • interaction turnover
  • mutualism
  • networks
  • null models
  • optimal foraging theory
  • phenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Interaction rewiring and the rapid turnover of plant–pollinator networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this