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      The multilayer nature of ecological networks

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      Nature Ecology & Evolution

      Springer Nature

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          The nested assembly of plant-animal mutualistic networks.

          Most studies of plant-animal mutualisms involve a small number of species. There is almost no information on the structural organization of species-rich mutualistic networks despite its potential importance for the maintenance of diversity. Here we analyze 52 mutualistic networks and show that they are highly nested; that is, the more specialist species interact only with proper subsets of those species interacting with the more generalists. This assembly pattern generates highly asymmetrical interactions and organizes the community cohesively around a central core of interactions. Thus, mutualistic networks are neither randomly assembled nor organized in compartments arising from tight, parallel specialization. Furthermore, nestedness increases with the complexity (number of interactions) of the network: for a given number of species, communities with more interactions are significantly more nested. Our results indicate a nonrandom pattern of community organization that may be relevant for our understanding of the organization and persistence of biodiversity.
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            Is Open Access

            Community Structure in Time-Dependent, Multiscale, and Multiplex Networks

            Network science is an interdisciplinary endeavor, with methods and applications drawn from across the natural, social, and information sciences. A prominent problem in network science is the algorithmic detection of tightly-connected groups of nodes known as communities. We developed a generalized framework of network quality functions that allowed us to study the community structure of arbitrary multislice networks, which are combinations of individual networks coupled through links that connect each node in one network slice to itself in other slices. This framework allows one to study community structure in a very general setting encompassing networks that evolve over time, have multiple types of links (multiplexity), and have multiple scales.
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              Multilayer Networks

              In most natural and engineered systems, a set of entities interact with each other in complicated patterns that can encompass multiple types of relationships, change in time, and include other types of complications. Such systems include multiple subsystems and layers of connectivity, and it is important to take such "multilayer" features into account to try to improve our understanding of complex systems. Consequently, it is necessary to generalize "traditional" network theory by developing (and validating) a framework and associated tools to study multilayer systems in a comprehensive fashion. The origins of such efforts date back several decades and arose in multiple disciplines, and now the study of multilayer networks has become one of the most important directions in network science. In this paper, we discuss the history of multilayer networks (and related concepts) and review the exploding body of work on such networks. To unify the disparate terminology in the large body of recent work, we discuss a general framework for multilayer networks, construct a dictionary of terminology to relate the numerous existing concepts to each other, and provide a thorough discussion that compares, contrasts, and translates between related notions such as multilayer networks, multiplex networks, interdependent networks, networks of networks, and many others. We also survey and discuss existing data sets that can be represented as multilayer networks. We review attempts to generalize single-layer-network diagnostics to multilayer networks. We also discuss the rapidly expanding research on multilayer-network models and notions like community structure, connected components, tensor decompositions, and various types of dynamical processes on multilayer networks. We conclude with a summary and an outlook.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Ecology & Evolution
                Nat. ecol. evol.
                Springer Nature
                2397-334X
                March 23 2017
                March 23 2017
                : 1
                : 4
                : 0101
                10.1038/s41559-017-0101
                © 2017
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