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Interaction networks of macrofungi and mycophagous beetles reflect diurnal variation and the size and spatial arrangement of resources

Epps, Mary Jane, Arnold, A. Elizabeth
Fungal ecology 2019 v.37 pp. 48-56
Coleoptera, Pleurotus ostreatus, diurnal variation, field experimentation, fruiting bodies, fungi, fungivores, insect communities, prediction, temperate forests
Ecological networks are useful for characterizing interspecific associations and predicting the resilience of ecological communities. We evaluated how such networks vary with the size, spatial distribution, and timing of availability of resources, with a focus on beetle-macrofungal associations. We used 2 y of field experiments to construct ecological networks based on manipulated sporocarp baits (resources; Pleurotus ostreatus) and natural communities of beetles (consumers) in a temperate forest. Centrality and interaction strength increased with resource size, but were associated weakly with resource density and isolation, and not at all with position within patches. Whole-network connectance was greater in mornings (when beetle richness and abundance were high) than evenings. Interannual differences in networks were consistent with differences in beetle communities between years. The capacity of networks to vary temporally, spatially, and as a function of resource traits is examined in light of understanding beetle-macrofungal associations, which are important components of fungal ecology.