Effect of localization on the stability of mutualistic ecological networks

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Nature Communications, 6:10179, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10179


The relationships between the core–periphery architecture of the species interaction network and the mechanisms ensuring the stability in mutualistic ecological communities are still unclear. In particular, most studies have focused their attention on asymptotic resilience or persistence, neglecting how perturbations propagate through the system. Here we develop a theoretical framework to evaluate the relationship between the architecture of the interaction networks and the impact of perturbations by studying localization, a measure describing the ability of the perturbation to propagate through the network. We show that mutualistic ecological communities are localized, and localization reduces perturbation propagation and attenuates its impact on species abundance. Localization depends on the topology of the interaction networks, and it positively correlates with the variance of the weighted degree distribution, a signature of the network topological heterogeneity. Our results provide a different perspective on the interplay between the architecture of interaction networks in mutualistic communities and their stability.


Funding for Open Access provided by the UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.