Global patterns in network ecology

I am interested in the manner in which network structure changes in relation to the environment, both for natural and human-created gradients. This is important, because network structure can dictate ecosystem functioning and ongoing stability in the face of global changes. Initially we focused on field-based work assessing how interactions and networks change locally. We then founded the LifeWebs project (, with the aim of understanding these patterns at global scales. We are doing this by collating as much as possible of the existing published and unpublished bipartite terrestrial network data.

Key publications

Tuma J., Eggleton P & Fayle T.M. (2020) Ant-termite interactions: an important but under-explored ecological linkage Biological Reviews 95: 555-572 [PDF]

Steidinger B.S, Crowther T.W., Liang J., Van Nuland M.E., Werner G.D.A., Reich P.B., Nabuurs G., de-Miguel S., Zhou M., Picard N., Herault B., Zhao X., Zhang C., Routh D., GFBI consortium of 206 authors including Fayle T.M., & Peay K.G. (2019) Climatic controls of decomposition drive the global biogeography of forest-tree symbioses. Nature 569: 404-408 [PDF]

Plowman N., Hood A., Moses J., Redmond C., Novotny V., Klimes P. & Fayle T.M. (2017) Network reorganisation and breakdown of an ant-plant protection mutualism with elevation Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284: 20162564 [PDF]

Fayle T.M., Sam K. Humlova A., Cagnolo L. & Novotny V. (2016) The LifeWebs project: A call for data describing plant-herbivore interaction networks. Frontiers of Biogeography 8.4: e31122 [PDF]

Fayle T.M., Eggleton P., Manica A., Yusah K.M. & Foster W.A. (2015) Experimentally testing and assessing the predictive power of species assembly rules for tropical canopy ants. Ecology Letters 18: 254-262 [PDF]

Fayle T.M., Turner E.C. & Foster W.A (2013) Ant mosaics occur in SE Asian oil palm plantation but not rain forest and are influenced by the presence of nest-sites and non-native species. Ecography 36: 1051-1057 [PDF]