What is it about?

Species extinctions and introductions are reshaping ecosystems around the world. In such novel ecological scenarios, it remains unclear whether crucial ecosystem functions played by lost native species may be partially or fully replaced by introduced species.

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Why is it important?

We show that introduced plants and seed dispersers may take over interaction networks, playing key roles and governing network structure, with potential implications for its dynamics. The roles species play in novel networks are, however, defined by similar mechanisms that shape native-dominated communities. This indicates that the impacts of introduced species on invaded ecosystems can be anticipated based on ecological characteristics. Our results provide valuable recommendations for ecosystem management and restoration of increasingly degraded biological communities worldwide.


As our planet becomes increasingly modified by species extinction and introductions, the study of highly-modified ecosystems such as Hawaii may provide a glimpse into the future of ecosystems as well as provides insights on how to mitigate the effects of such disturbances.

Dr Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Ecological correlates of species’ roles in highly invaded seed dispersal networks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2009532118.
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