Hurricane impacts on plant-herbivore networks along a successional chronosequence in a tropical dry forest

N. Luviano, E. Villa-Galaviz, K. Boege, A. Zaldívar-Riverón, E. del-Val*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Hurricanes are one of the major natural forces affecting plant and animal dynamics in areas where tropical dry forests (TDF) are located. Most studies of hurricane impacts have evaluated the effects on plants, but few have addressed how interactions between plants and animals are affected. We investigated the effect of hurricane Jova on plant-lepidopteran interaction networks along a TDF successional gradient in the Chamela region on the Mexican Pacific coast. We surveyed plant-lepidopteran larvae trophic interactions during 2007–2010 and re-surveyed this association in 2012 and 2013, following the landfall of a category 2 hurricane. The parameters of plant-lepidopteran interaction networks changed after the hurricane. Network size, number of compartments and specificity (H2) diminished, while connectance and robustness increased. Network differences throughout the chronosequence remained similar to the patterns observed in previous studies showing larger networks and higher levels of robustness but lower connectance in late successional stages than in recently abandoned pastures. It is interesting that even though the hurricane affected plant-lepidopteran interaction networks, the topology related to forest succession remained unaltered after the passage of the hurricane, demonstrating the long legacy of the human footprint on ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Early online date8 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Chronosequence
  • Ecological networks
  • Extreme events
  • Herbivores
  • Hurricane
  • Secondary succession
  • Tropical dry forest


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