Table of Contents
Advances in Ecology
Volume 2014, Article ID 379267, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/379267
Review Article

Microevolutionary Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on Plant-Animal Interactions

Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras 3425, Ñuñoa, 7800024 Santiago, Chile

Received 26 May 2014; Revised 4 August 2014; Accepted 8 August 2014; Published 25 August 2014

Academic Editor: Tomasz S. Osiejuk

Copyright © 2014 Francisco E. Fontúrbel and Maureen M. Murúa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Plant-animal interactions are a key component for biodiversity maintenance, but they are currently threatened by human activities. Habitat fragmentation might alter ecological interactions due to demographic changes, spatial discontinuities, and edge effects. Also, there are less evident effects of habitat fragmentation that potentially alter selective forces and compromise the fitness of the interacting species. Changes in the mutualistic and antagonistic interactions in fragmented habitats could significantly influence the plant reproductive output and the fauna assemblage associated with. Fragmented habitats may trigger contemporary evolution processes and open new evolutionary opportunities. Interacting parties with a diffuse and asymmetric relationship are less susceptible to local extinction but more prone to evolve towards new interactions or autonomy. However, highly specialized mutualisms are likely to disappear. On the other hand, ecological interactions may mutually modulate their response in fragmented habitats, especially when antagonistic interactions disrupt mutualistic ones. Ecoevolutionary issues of habitat fragmentation have been little explored, but the empiric evidence available suggests that the complex modification of ecological interactions in fragmented habitats might lead to nonanalogous communities on the long term.