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Psyche
Volume 2012, Article ID 478431, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/478431
Research Article

Flower-Visiting Social Wasps and Plants Interaction: Network Pattern and Environmental Complexity

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, 36036-900 Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil
2Laboratório de Ecologia Comportamental e de Interações (LECI), Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, P.O. Box 593, 38400-902 Uberlândia, MG, Brazil
3Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
4Curso de Ciências Biológicas, Centro de Ensino Superior de Juiz de Fora, 36033-240 Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil

Received 29 August 2012; Accepted 9 October 2012

Academic Editor: Helena Maura Torezan-Silingardi

Copyright © 2012 Mateus Aparecido Clemente et al. 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

Network analysis as a tool for ecological interactions studies has been widely used since last decade. However, there are few studies on the factors that shape network patterns in communities. In this sense, we compared the topological properties of the interaction network between flower-visiting social wasps and plants in two distinct phytophysiognomies in a Brazilian savanna (Riparian Forest and Rocky Grassland). Results showed that the landscapes differed in species richness and composition, and also the interaction networks between wasps and plants had different patterns. The network was more complex in the Riparian Forest, with a larger number of species and individuals and a greater amount of connections between them. The network specialization degree was more generalist in the Riparian Forest than in the Rocky Grassland. This result was corroborated by means of the nestedness index. In both networks was found asymmetry, with a large number of wasps per plant species. In general aspects, most wasps had low niche amplitude, visiting from one to three plant species. Our results suggest that differences in structural complexity of the environment directly influence the structure of the interaction network between flower-visiting social wasps and plants.