Cows as unravellers

November 24, 2003

Long-term conservation of biodiversity may depend not only on the maintenance of its component parts but also on their interactions.

Human-aided species introductions stand out as a major anthropogenic modification of ecological systems, and there is increasing concern that such introductions can modify interactions among species in the invaded community.

In the December issue of Ecology Letters, Diego Vázquez and Daniel Simberloff provide strong evidence that domestic cattle introduced in native forests of the southern Argentine Andes have significantly modified the structure of the web of interactions between plants and pollinators.

This effect of cattle on network structure was mainly due to the modification of a few highly frequent interactions, which are likely important from a functional perspective.
-end-


Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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