A Species Association Network depicts the spatial relationships among trees at the San Emilio forest in Costa Rica. Each node (circle) in the network represents a species. Edges (lines) connect species if individual trees of the two species overlap crowns at least once somewhere in the forest. If the distribution of trees is random, then the likelihood that any two species will grow close enough to each other to overlap crowns is simply the product of their relative proportion of the community. But if deterministic forces such as asymmetric competition, facilitation, or habitat preference influence the ability of species to coexist, then the probability that two species overlap crowns may increase or decrease dramatically. The effect of these forces will show up in the topology, or structure, of the Species Network. See Species Association Networks of Tropical Trees.
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