The macroecology of phylogenetically structured hummingbird-plant networks

Ana M. Martín González, Bo Dalsgaard, David Nogués-Bravo, Catherine H. Graham, Matthias Schleuning, Pietro K. Maruyama, Stefan Abrahamczyk, Ruben Alarcón, Andréa C. Araujo, Francielle P. Araújo, Severino Mendes de Azevedo, Andrea C. Baquero, Peter A. Cotton, Tanja Toftemark Ingversen, Glauco Kohler, Carlos Lara, Flor Maria Guedes Las-Casas, Adriana O. Machado, Caio Graco Machado, María Alejandra MaglianesiJimmy A. Mcguire, Alan Cerqueira Moura, Genilda M. Oliveira, Paulo E. Oliveira, Juan Francisco Ornelas, Licléia Rodrigues da Cruz, Liliana Rosero-Lasprilla, Ana M. Rui, Marlies Sazima, Allan Timmermann, Isabela Galarda Varassin, Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni, Zhiheng Wang, Stella Watts, Carsten Rahbek, Neo D. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Aim: To investigate the association between hummingbird-plant network structure and species richness, phylogenetic signal on species' interaction pattern, insularity and historical and current climate. Location: Fifty-four communities along a c. 10,000 km latitudinal gradient across the Americas (39°N-32°S), ranging from sea level to c. 3700m a.s.l., located on the mainland and on islands and covering a wide range of climate regimes. Methods: We measured the level of specialization and modularity in mutualistic plant-hummingbird interaction networks. Using an ordinary least squares multimodel approach, we examined the influence of species richness, phylogenetic signal, insularity and current and historical climate conditions on network structure (null-model-corrected specialization and modularity). Results: Phylogenetically related species, especially plants, showed a tendency to interact with a similar array of mutualistic partners. The spatial variation in network structure exhibited a constant association with species phylogeny (R2=0.18-0.19); however, network structure showed the strongest association with species richness and environmental factors (R2=0.20-0.44 and R2=0.32-0.45, respectively). Specifically, higher levels of specialization and modularity were associated with species-rich communities and communities in which closely related hummingbirds visited distinct sets of flowering species. On the mainland, specialization was also associated with warmer temperatures and greater historical temperature stability. Main conclusions: Our results confirm the results of previous macroecological studies of interaction networks which have highlighted the importance of species richness and the environment in determining network structure. Additionally, for the first time, we report an association between network structure and species phylogenetic signal at a macroecological scale, indicating that high specialization and modularity are associated with high interspecific competition among closely related hummingbirds, subdividing the floral niche. This suggests a tighter co-evolutionary association between hummingbirds and their plants than in previously studied plant-bird mutualistic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1224
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Community ecology, current climate
  • Historical climate
  • Hummingbird biogeography
  • Macroecology
  • Modularity
  • Phylogenetic signal
  • Pollination
  • Quantitative networks
  • Specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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