Evolutionary Biology

Do closely related species interact with similar partners? Testing for phylogenetic signal in bipartite interaction networks

10.24072/pcjournal.179 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e59.

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Whether interactions between species are conserved on evolutionary time-scales has spurred the development of both correlative and process-based approaches for testing phylogenetic signal in interspecific interactions: do closely related species interact with similar partners? Here we use simulations to test the statistical performances of the two approaches that are the most widely used in the field: Mantel tests and the Phylogenetic Bipartite Linear Model (PBLM). Mantel tests investigate the correlation between phylogenetic distances and dissimilarities in sets of interacting partners, while PBLM is a process-based approach that relies on strong assumptions about how interactions evolve. We find that PBLM often detects a phylogenetic signal when it should not. Simple Mantel tests instead have infrequent false positives and moderate statistical power; however, they often artifactually detect that closely related species interact with dissimilar partners. Partial Mantel tests, which are used to partial out the phylogenetic signal in the number of partners, actually fail at correcting for this confounding effect, and we instead recommend evaluating the significance of Mantel tests with network permutations constraining the number of partners. We also explore the ability of simple Mantel tests to analyze clade- specific phylogenetic signals. We provide general guidelines and an application on an interaction network between orchids and mycorrhizal fungi.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.179
Perez-Lamarque, Benoît 1, 2; Maliet, Odile 1; Pichon, Benoît 3, 1; Selosse, Marc-André 2, 4, 5; Martos, Florent 2; Morlon, Hélène 1

1 Institut de biologie de l’École normale supérieure (IBENS), École normale supérieure, CNRS, INSERM, Université PSL, 46 rue d’Ulm, 75 005 Paris, France
2 Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, EPHE, UA, CP39, 57 rue Cuvier 75 005 Paris, France
3 Institut d’écologie et des sciences de l’environnement (iEES), Sorbonne Université, CNRS, UPEC, CNRS, IRD, INRA, 75 005 Paris, France
4 Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation, University of Gdansk, Wita Stwosza 59, 80-308 Gdansk, Poland
5 Institut universitaire de France (IUF), Paris, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Perez-Lamarque, Benoît; Maliet, Odile; Pichon, Benoît; Selosse, Marc-André; Martos, Florent; Morlon, Hélène. Do closely related species interact with similar partners? Testing for phylogenetic signal in bipartite interaction networks. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e59. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.179. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.179/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100150

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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