Information about plant-plant interaction networks expressing which species recruit under which others (e.g. “facilitation networks”, like in Verdú and Valiente-Banuet 2008, or “replacement networks” as in Alcántara and Rey 2012) indicates that, despite the facility to characterize these networks and considering the large number of studies published recently on plant recruitment at the community level, examples of this type of networks are much less common in the literature than expected.
This has led us to propose a collaborative effort to compile data sets that either have been already analyzed using ecological networks, or have the potential to be explored in this way, considering both available data and ongoing sampling designs willing to be slightly adapted to contribute to this purpose.
The mid-term aim would be to construct a worldwide public database of plant facilitation/replacement networks that would provide valuable information in the search for general patterns on species coexistence, community stability, competition-facilitation balance, phylogenetic predilections, evolutionary persistence of lineages, and recruitment niche conservatism.
This eLab provides the virtual environment needed for this purpose by facilitating collaboration and information sharing, and also serving as a data repository for the contributing databases on facilitation/replacement networks across terrestrial ecosystems worldwide.