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Bestelmeyer, B.T. and J.A. Wiens. 1996. The effects of land use on the structure of ground-foraging ant communities in the Argentine Chaco. Ecological Applications, 16(4), 1225-1240. DOI:10.2307/2269603

latest article added on January 2015

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
RESTORATION OF BUTTERFLY AND MOTH COMMUNITIES IN SEMI-NATURAL GRASSLANDS BY CATTLE GRAZINGPöyry, Juha2004

RESTORATION OF BUTTERFLY AND MOTH COMMUNITIES IN SEMI-NATURAL GRASSLANDS BY CATTLE GRAZING

Keywords

agri-environment scheme, butterflies, cattle grazing, community structure, dynamic equilibrium model, Lepidoptera, management, moths, restoration, semi-natural grasslands, species diversity

Abstract

The effects of restorative grazing on species composition and community structure of butterflies and moths were studied in mesic semi-natural grasslands differing in their management history: (1) old continuously grazed pastures, (2) restored pastures with ∼5 yr of reinitiated grazing, and (3) abandoned former pastures. Butterflies and moths were counted with a transect method during 1999 and 2000 in 33 study sites in southwest Finland. In a multivariate ordination (NMDS), the studied grasslands were separated from each other on the basis of their species composition so that the actively grazed pastures differed from abandoned pastures. The first ordination axis represented most (73%) of the variation in species composition, and it was strongly correlated with variables describing the current grazing intensity. Species richness and total abundance were highest in abandoned pastures, both for all species and for grassland-preferring species. In contrast, relative diversity (N1, N2, and α) and evenness (Alatalo's evenness index) were in most cases highest in old pastures and lowest in abandoned pastures. Generalized linear models (GLM) were constructed for four response variables: total species richness, grassland species richness, abundance of all species, and abundance of grassland species. The derived models explained 78–84% of the total variation for species richness and 92–93% for abundance, and the type of grazing history explained the largest proportion of variation. Mean vegetation height was included in the abundance models as a quadratic function, which indicated that butterflies and moths were most abundant at an intermediate level of grazing intensity, as predicted by the “dynamic equilibrium model.” The results suggest that grazing management is a useful tool in the restoration of insect communities of abandoned semi-natural grasslands. In order to enhance the survival of species suffering from continuously high grazing intensity, the existing management instructions should be developed toward construction of regional networks of semi-natural grasslands, which would allow differing grazing intensities or rotational grazing on the patch level, but simultaneously ensure continuity of varying management regimes on a regional level.

Authors

Pöyry, Juha, Lindgren, Sami, Salminen, Jere and Kuussaari, Mikko

Year Published

2004

Publication

Ecological Applications

Locations
DOI

10.1890/03-5151

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

The value of ants as early warning bioindicators: responses to pulsed cattle grazing at an Australian arid zone localityRead, John L.2000

The value of ants as early warning bioindicators: responses to pulsed cattle grazing at an Australian arid zone locality

Keywords

ants; Australia; BACI experiment; bioindicators; cattle grazing; functional groups; rangeland condition

Abstract

The value of ants as bioindicators of incipient environmental change in rangeland condition was assessed on a local scale in the South Australian arid zone. The sensitivity of ants to intense pulses of unsustainable grazing was tested, in order to identify species, functional groups or community variables that could be used as indicators of more typical grazing pressure. Genera represented by the largest number of species were Iridomyrmex, Melophorus, Camponotus andMonomorium . A significant decrease in captures of Rhytidoponera metallica was recorded on swales, whereas theIridomyrmex sp.(bicknelli) group increased on dunes relative to controls following grazing. The Generalized Myrmicinae functional group increased on swales, and Hot-climate Specialist ants increased on dunes, after grazing. Several other species and functional groups responded qualitatively but not significantly. However, neither overall ant abundance and richness, nor the abundances of most of the common species and functional groups responded significantly to grazing in this local scale experiment, which rendered ants of limited use as early warning indicators of unsustainable management. The use of ants for this purpose is constrained by a lack of knowledge of the ecology of individual ant species, particularly of the less common and more localized species that are likely to be most sensitive to disturbance.

Authors

Read, John L. and Andersen, Alan N.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Journal of Arid Environments

Locations
DOI

10.1006/jare.2000.0634

Patterns of diversity and composition of Mediterranean ground ant communities tracking spatial and temporal variability in the thermal environmentRetana, J.2000

Patterns of diversity and composition of Mediterranean ground ant communities tracking spatial and temporal variability in the thermal environment

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

The present study analyzed ant community structure and the factors affecting it in the Spanish Mediterranean area. The aim of this study was to test whether temperature controls the composition and diversity of the ground ant fauna and the spatial and temporal distribution of dominance groups along adjacent communities. The main descriptors of community structure (except perharps species richness) were found to vary along the gradient of vegetation cover: increased vegetation cover resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of the most common species, which led to a significant decrease in species evenness, together with a reduction in total ant density on the ground. In open habitats, dominant and subordinate species were abundant during different periods of the day, and this led to an increase in species evenness. In areas with high vegetation cover, dominants benefited from the lower temperatures by lengthening their periods of activity. This resulted in a decrease in the abundance of subordinate species, and in lower evenness. Seasonal patterns in community structure tracked temperature fluctuations and varied between habitat types. Evenness was similar in the two habitat types in spring, but increased in grasslands and decreased in shrublands/forests in summer. Species richness did not vary between seasons or habitat types. The relative abundance of dominance groups in the two types of habitats showed a different pattern between seasons. In grasslands, subordinates increased and dominants decreased their relative abundance from spring to summer, while in shrublands/forests, the opposite pattern was found. The overall conclusion from this study is that ground ant communities in open areas are primarily regulated by temperature variations, while in shrublands and forests, dominant species are more abundant, and competitive interactions appear to be the major structuring force.

Authors

Retana, J. and Cerdá, X.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Oecologia

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s004420051031

Ant diversity and its relationship with vegetation and soil factors in an alluvial fan of the Tehuacán Valley, MexicoRíos-Casanova, Leticia2006

Ant diversity and its relationship with vegetation and soil factors in an alluvial fan of the Tehuacán Valley, Mexico

Keywords

Alluvial fan; Ant community; Atta mexicana; Pogonomyrmex barbatus; Solenopsis xyloni; Soil; Tehuacán Valley Mexico; Vegetation structure

Abstract

In this study, we analyze the ant community found along an alluvial fan located in the Tehuacán Valley, central Mexico. Considering that this fan is composed of four terraces with different soils and vegetation structures, our main goal was to determine whether there are significant differences in ant diversity among terraces. To accomplish this goal, we determine species richness and abundance in order to calculate diversity and evenness indices. In addition, we classify species in different feeding guilds to evaluate whether differences among terraces exist. We expected higher ant diversity and variety of food guilds in terraces with sandy soils and complex vegetation structures than in terraces with argillic and calcic horizons. Correlations between several diversity parameters, and soil percent-sand and vegetation structure were also conducted. A total of 26 ant species were recorded along the fan. Species richness was not different among terraces whereas abundance was higher in sandy soils and on terraces with complex vegetation structure. Particularly, the abundance of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus was higher in these terraces decreasing total ant diversity and evenness. Species richness within feeding guilds was similar among terraces with the generalized foragers as the most common. Our work suggests that percentage of sand in the soil and complexity of vegetation structure of the alluvial fan studied might be influencing ant distribution and favoring the abundance of numerically dominant species which could be affecting the diversity patterns of the whole community.

Authors

Ríos-Casanova, Leticia, Valiente-Banuet, Alfonso and Rico-Gray, Víctor

Year Published

2006

Publication

Acta Oecologica

Locations
DOI

10.1016/j.actao.2005.12.001

Effect of fire on ground beetles and ant assemblages along an environmental gradient in NW Patagonia: Does habitat type matter?Sackmann, Paula2006

Effect of fire on ground beetles and ant assemblages along an environmental gradient in NW Patagonia: Does habitat type matter?

Keywords

assemblage composition, burning, coleoptera, environmental gradient, Formicidae, Patagonia, Coleoptera, composition des assemblages, feu, Formicidae, gradient environnemental, Patagonie

Abstract

The response of beetle and ant assemblages to fire (2–5 y old) and the dependence of that response on habitat type were analyzed. Using pitfall traps, beetles (Coleoptera) and ants (Formicidae) were sampled in replicated forest, scrub, and steppe areas including paired unburnt and burnt plots. A total of 176 species of beetles (8245 individuals) and 22 species of ants (115,056 individuals) were captured. Most beetle families (65%) were captured in the forest, while most ant species were most frequently captured in the steppe (45%). Beetle abundance was the same in unburnt and burnt plots in the three habitats, but ant abundance was higher in burnt than in unburnt plots. Fire usually decreased species richness of both taxa, but the strength of this effect depended on the habitat type. Coleoptera richness was lower in burnt than in unburnt plots in the forest and steppe but was the same in unburnt and burnt scrub plots. Ant richness was lower in burnt forest and scrub plots and was similar between burnt and unburnt steppe plots. For both taxa, species composition of the forest assemblages was different between unburnt and burnt forest plots (difference almost significant for ants) but not between unburnt and burnt steppe plots. Beetle species composition in the scrub was different between unburnt and burnt plots, but ant species composition was the same. Our results support the idea that the consequences of fire on native beetle and ant assemblages depend on the habitat type but also on the taxonomic group under analysis. Beetles and ants showed differences in their habitat preference and in the way that they use the habitats (e.g., preference for vegetated or bare soil patches) along the environmental gradient. These differences explain why beetles were in general more severely affected than ants, and why fire differentially affected both taxa in the scrub (habitat of intermediate complexity). A good knowledge of the habitat utilization by different groups at the local scale and a regional perspective (e.g., habitat preference along an environmental gradient) are necessary to fully understand the effect of disturbances on native arthropod assemblages.

Authors

Sackmann, Paula and Farji-Brener, Alejandro

Year Published

2006

Publication

Ecoscience

Locations
DOI

10.2980/i1195-6860-13-3-360.1

Effects of Urban Development on Ant Communities: Implications for Ecosystem Services and ManagementSANFORD, MONTE P.2009

Effects of Urban Development on Ant Communities: Implications for Ecosystem Services and Management

Keywords

ants; ecosystem services; forest management; Lake Tahoe; service-providing units; water infiltration; urbanization hormigas; infiltración de agua; Lago tahoe; manejo de bosques; servicios del ecosistema; unidades proveedoras de servicio; urbanización

Abstract

Research that connects the effects of urbanization on biodiversity and ecosystem services is lacking. Ants perform multifarious ecological functions that stabilize ecosystems and contribute to a number of ecosystem services. We studied responses of ant communities to urbanization in the Lake Tahoe basin by sampling sites along a gradient of urban land development. We sampled ant communities, measured vegetation characteristics, quantified human activities, and evaluated ant-community responses by grouping ants into service-providing units (SPUs), defined as a group of organisms and their populations that perform specific ecosystem services, to provide an understanding of urbanization impacts on biodiversity and their delivery of ecosystem services. Species richness and abundance peaked at intermediate levels of urban development, as did the richness of 3 types of ant SPUs (aerators, decomposers, and compilers). With increasing land development aerator and decomposer ants significantly declined in abundance, whereas compiler ants significantly increased in abundance. Competing models demonstrated that precipitation was frequently among the strongest influences on ant community structure; however, urban development and human activities also had a strong, negative influence on ants, appearing in most models with ΔAICc < 2 for species richness and abundance patterns of SPUs and generalists. Response diversity was observed within SPUs, which suggests that the corresponding ecosystem services were maintained until development reached 30–40%. Our data provide evidence that ecosystem functions, such as water infiltration and soil productivity, may be diminished at sites subject to greater levels of urbanization and that conserving ant communities and the ecosystem services they provide could be an important target in land-use planning and conservation efforts.

Authors

SANFORD, MONTE P., MANLEY, PATRICIA N. and MURPHY, DENNIS D.

Year Published

2009

Publication

Conservation Biology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01040.x

Influence of small-scale disturbances by kangaroo rats on Chihuahuan Desert antsSchooley, R. L.2000

Influence of small-scale disturbances by kangaroo rats on Chihuahuan Desert ants

Keywords

Ecosystem engineers, Disturbances, Formicidae, Heteromyidae, Spatial scale

Abstract

Banner-tailed kangaroo rats ( Dipodomys spectabilis ) are prominent ecosystem engineers that build large mounds that influence the spatial structuring of fungi, plants, and some ground-dwelling animals. Ants are diverse and functionally important components of arid ecosystems; some species are also ecosystem en- gineers. We investigated the effects of patch disturbances created by D. spectabilis mounds on ant assemblages in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland in southern New Mexico by using pitfall traps in a paired design (mound vs. ma- trix). Although the disturbances did not alter species richness or harbor unique ant communities relative to the matrix, they did alter species composition; the abun- dances of 6 of 26 species were affected. The distur- bances might also act to disrupt spatial patterning of ants caused by other environmental gradients. In contrast to previous investigations of larger-scale disturbances, we detected no effects of the disturbances on ants at the functional-group level. Whether ant communities re- spond to disturbance at a functional-group or within- functional-group level may depend on the size and inten- sity of the disturbance. Useful functional-group schemes also may be scale-dependent, however, or species may respond idiosyncratically. Interactions between distur- bance-generating mammals and ants may produce a nest- ed spatial structure of patches.

Authors

Schooley, R. L., Bestelmeyer, B. T. and Kelly, J. F.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Oecologia

Locations
DOI

10.1007/PL00008885

Responses of ants to selective logging of a central Amazonian forestVasconcelos, H.L.2000

Responses of ants to selective logging of a central Amazonian forest

Keywords

biodiversity conservation; forest disturbance; forestry; insect communities; tropical rain forest

Abstract

1. Relatively little information exists on the effects of logging on rain forest organisms, particularly in the Neotropics where logging operations have increased dramatically in recent years. In this study we determined experimentally the effects of selective logging of a central Amazonian forest on ground-living ants. 2. The experimental design consisted of three 4-ha replicated plots representing control unlogged forest, forest logged 10 years prior to the start of the study (1987), and forest logged 4 years prior to the start of the study (1993). The logging operation removed 50% of the basal area of trees of commercial value, or about eight trees per hectare. This resulted in a significant decrease in canopy cover, and an increase in understorey vegetation density in logged plots relative to controls. 3. Collection and identification of ants from a total of 360 1-m2 samples of leaf-litter revealed 143 ant species, of which 97 were found in the control plots, 97 in the plots logged in 1987, and 106 in those logged in 1993. Species richness, evenness and mean abundance (ants m−2) per plot did not vary among treatments. Most of the species found in the control plots were also present in the logged plots. However, population density of many species changed as a result of logging, an effect that persisted for at least 10 years after logging. Species commonly found in sites that were directly disturbed by logging (gaps and tracks) were rare in the undisturbed forest, as revealed by an additional collection of ants. 4. These results suggest that the persistence of ant assemblages typical of undisturbed forest is likely to depend on the amount of structural damage incurred by logging. Thus management techniques that minimize logging impacts on forest structure are likely to help maintain the conservation value of logged forests for ground-dwelling ants. It is particularly important to minimize the extent of logging roads and tracks created by heavy machinery because these areas appear more prone to invasion by non-forest species.

Authors

Vasconcelos, H.L., Vilhena, J.M.S. and Caliri, G.J.A.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Journal of Applied Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1046/j.1365-2664.2000.00512.x

Effects of forest disturbance on the structure of ground-foraging ant communities in central AmazoniaVasconcelos, Heraldo L.1999

Effects of forest disturbance on the structure of ground-foraging ant communities in central Amazonia

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

This study evaluates biotic responses, using ants as bio-indicators, to relatively recent anthropogenic disturbances to mature forest in central Amazonia. The structure of the ground-foraging ant community was compared in four habitats that represented a gradient of disturbance associated with differences in land use. Ants were collected in undisturbed, mature forest, in an abandoned pasture, in a young regrowth forest (situated in a former pasture area), and in an old regrowth forest (established where mature forest was just cleared and abandoned). More ant species were found in mature and old regrowth forest than in the abandoned pasture. By contrast, ant abundance tended to decrease with forest maturity. Both pasture and young regrowth forest exhibited a distinct ant species composition compared to mature forest, whereas species composition in the old regrowth forest showed greater similarity to that of mature forest. In spite of differences in fallow time between former pasture areas and non-pasture areas, there is evidence that different land-management practices do result in different rates of recovery of the ant forest fauna after land abandonment. In any case, recuperation of the ground-foraging ant fauna appears to be faster than regeneration of the woody-plant community. In this sense, regrowth forests may be valuable for the conservation of ground-foraging ants and perhaps for other components of mature-forest leaf-litter fauna within the context of a fragmented landscape.

Authors

Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.

Year Published

1999

Publication

Biodiversity And Conservation

Locations
DOI

10.1023/A:1008891710230

Abundance, Diversity, and Activity of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Oak-Dominated Mixed Appalachian Forests Treated with Microbial PesticidesWang, Changlu2000

Abundance, Diversity, and Activity of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Oak-Dominated Mixed Appalachian Forests Treated with Microbial Pesticides

Keywords

ants, microbial pesticides, nontarget effect, forest

Abstract

This study is part of a long-term analysis of nontarget effects of microbial pesticide application in the George Washington (Augusta County, VA, USA) and Monongahela National Forests (Pocahontas County, WV, USA). Ants were collected using pitfall traps to assess the effect of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner variety kurstaki (Foray 48 F) and gypsy moth nuclear polyhedrosis virus (Gypchek) application on ant communities. Ant samples were also compared by sampling years. Pitfall traps were operated for 45 wk during summers of 1995–1997. A total of 31,732 ants was collected from pitfall traps; they belonged to four subfamilies, 17 genera, and 31 species. The ant species richness, diversity, abundance, and species composition did not change as a result of the treatments. Further tests of ant abundance were suggested because the test power was low. Comparisons between sampling years showed a very similar species composition and species evenness. There was a significant decrease in ant abundance in the third year of sampling, which might have been caused by over-trapping. Some rare species did not appear in the second and third year of sampling.

Authors

Wang, Changlu, Strazanac, John and Butler, Linda

Year Published

2000

Publication

Environmental Entomology

Locations
DOI

10.1603/0046-225X-29.3.579

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