Schleuning et al. (2010)

General information

This paper analyzed specialization and interaction strength in a plant-frugivore network from a Kenyan rain forest in relation to forest stratum (canopy, midstory, and understory) and forest type (primary and secondary forest). The authors found no effect of forest type, but a strong vertical stratification of the frugivore community into obligate and opportunistic feeding guilds. The canopy stratum comprised stronger links and generalized associations, whereas the lower strata were composed of weaker links and more specialized interactions.

Data type and methodological remarks

All plant species with fleshy fruits in an area of ca. 250 ha in northern Kakamega Forest were studied from December 2007 to March 2008, comprising species from different forest strata and forest types. For each plant species, representative individuals bearing numerous ripe fruits were selected. According to availability, four, three, or two individuals of each species were selected. Five ornithologists observed each plant individual once, from 7:00 to 14:00 in order to record its associated frugivore species. For the few plant species with less than four individuals, observations were repeated on the same individual to standardize the sampling effort to 28 hours per plant species. Only fruit-eating individuals were recorded and counted, and both mammals and birds were determined to species level. Interaction frequency in the quantitative interaction matrix was defined as the number of fruit-eating individuals on a plant species independent of fruit handling (including swallowing, pecking, and dropping fruits).


Matthias Schleuning, Nico Blüthgen, Martina Flörchinger, Julius Braun, H. Martin Schaefer, Katrin Böhning-Gaese, (2011). Specialization and interaction strength in a tropical plant-frugivore network differ among forest strata. Ecology, 92(1): 26-36.

Data files

Excel file: click here to download all interaction matrices.
The main data sheet includes the overall matrix giving all relevant information including scientific species names, forest stratum and forest type for each plant species, and feeding and habitat guild for each frugivore species. Additional datasheets provide raw interaction matrix for each subweb (i.e., canopy, midstory, and understory; primary and secondary forest).

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