Reconstruction of plant-pollinator networks from observational data

Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 23;12(1):3911. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24149-x.


Empirical measurements of ecological networks such as food webs and mutualistic networks are often rich in structure but also noisy and error-prone, particularly for rare species for which observations are sparse. Focusing on the case of plant-pollinator networks, we here describe a Bayesian statistical technique that allows us to make accurate estimates of network structure and ecological metrics from such noisy observational data. Our method yields not only estimates of these quantities, but also estimates of their statistical errors, paving the way for principled statistical analyses of ecological variables and outcomes. We demonstrate the use of the method with an application to previously published data on plant-pollinator networks in the Seychelles archipelago and Kosciusko National Park, calculating estimates of network structure, network nestedness, and other characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Ecosystem
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • New South Wales
  • Parks, Recreational
  • Plants / parasitology*
  • Pollination / physiology*
  • Seychelles