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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
Forest fragmentation in central Amazonia and its effects on litter-dwelling antsCarvalho, Karine S.1999

Forest fragmentation in central Amazonia and its effects on litter-dwelling ants

Keywords

Amazon; Ants; Brazil; Edge effects; Forest fragmentation; Habitat isolation

Abstract

We assessed responses of ants nesting in twigs in the litter layer to habitat changes associated with forest fragmentation in central Amazonia. Ants were collected along transects located at nine distances (5, 20, 40, 60, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 m) from the edges of two isolated 100-ha fragments and two continuous-forest sites. In total, 2880 m2 of litter were examined for the presence of ant colonies. We detected a significant decrease in litter depth with increasing distance to forest edge, and an increase and then decrease in the average diameter-at-breast-height (DBH) of large trees (DBH⩾10 cm), and in tree basal area. Distance to forest edge significantly affected ant species composition and this effect was partly attributable to variation in litter depth. With the exception of one fragment, no significant changes in ant nest densities or species richness were found with increasing distance to forest edge. However, species richness of ants was greater in continuous forest than in both fragments. Furthermore, most species (65.8%) had greater nest densities in continuous forest. These results suggest that edge and isolation effects both play a role in structuring litter-dwelling ant communities in Amazonian forest remnants.

Authors

Carvalho, Karine S. and Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.

Year Published

1999

Publication

Biological Conservation

Locations
DOI

10.1016/S0006-3207(99)00079-8

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

The ants of the southern Sonoran desert: community structure and the role of treesBestelmeyer, Brandon T.1999

The ants of the southern Sonoran desert: community structure and the role of trees

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

In contrast to other North American deserts, the southern Sonoran desert is dominated by trees that provide shaded microhabitats necessary for the establishment and survival of several plant species. Near the southern limit of the Sonoran desert in Sonora, Mexico, we evaluated the role that tree microhabitats may play in structuring ant communities. We recorded 39 species and 21 genera of ants from a 9.7-ha area. Total species richness was estimated to be between 47 and 49 species, a much greater species richness than that reported for other North American arid-zone habitats. Although species richness did not differ between open ground and tree-shaded microhabitats, species composition did. Opportunistic species, Camponotus species, Pheidole sciophila and P. titanis were more common near trees, whereas Pheidole sp. A and granivorous species were more active in open areas. The imperilment of trees in the Sonoran desert due to commercial cutting and the spread of buffelgrass Pennisetum ciliare may alter the existing composition of ant communities.

Authors

Bestelmeyer, Brandon T. and Schooley, Robert L.

Year Published

1999

Publication

Biodiversity And Conservation

Locations
DOI

10.1023/A:1008873406658

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

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

The trade-off between thermal tolerance and behavioural dominance in a subtropical South American ant communityBestelmeyer, Brandon T.2000

The trade-off between thermal tolerance and behavioural dominance in a subtropical South American ant community

Keywords

competition; Formicidae; functional types; microclimate; stress

Abstract

1. The distribution, ecology, and behaviour of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is profoundly influenced by environmental stress and competition. As in plants, trade-offs in adaptations to these factors are the basis for functional classifications of ant taxa and communities at a global scale. 2. Theory predicts a trade-off between stress tolerance and competitive dominance in both plants and ants. In ants, low temperature is thought to be stressful, so I hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between temperature and behavioural dominance. I evaluated this relationship in a South American, Chaco ant community. 3 The activity and behaviour of ground-foraging, omnivorous ants were examined at baits in open and closed, forested habitats during different seasons and times of day to characterize the responses of ant taxa to variation in microclimate and competitors. 4. Behaviourally dominant ants were most active at moderately high temperatures, whereas subordinate species were active at extreme temperatures, when they had virtually exclusive access to resources. 5. The patterns presented here and those observed in other studies suggest that there is a general trade-off between behavioural dominance and thermal tolerance in ants. This trade-off creates a linear relationship between temperature use and dominance for ants up to ≈ 35 °C, but extremely high temperatures may also be stressful such that the full relationship is actually unimodal.

Authors

Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Journal of Animal Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1365-2656.2000.00455.x

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

Experimental effects of habitat fragmentation on rove beetles and ants: patch area or edge?Golden, David M.2000

Experimental effects of habitat fragmentation on rove beetles and ants: patch area or edge?

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

The effects of habitat fragmentation may include the loss of species from isolated fragments or changes in species abundances among habitats that differ in area, structure, or edge characteristics. We measured the species richness and abundance of ground-dwelling insects in a 1.14-ha old field that was mowed to produce patches of unmowed vegetation which differed in size, degree of isolation, and the amount of habitat edge. Four treatments – ranging from unfragmented (169-m2) to highly fragmented (1-m2) patches – were replicated four times in a Latin square design, and insects were sampled twice during 1995 using 177 pitfall traps. Species richness showed a non-monotonic response to fragmentation, with the fewest species occurring in the slightly fragmented treatment. Responses of rove beetles and ants, the most species-rich and abundant taxa, respectively, were similar to the overall insect community but ants had a stronger and more consistent treatment effect in both sample months. Ordinations of ant and rove-beetle assemblages using nonmetric multidimensional scaling showed that the slightly fragmented treatment differed from other treatments in species occurrence and abundance. The lower species richness in the slightly fragmented treatment was primarily due to a subset of ant and rove beetle species that showed a lower abundance than in other treatments, possibly because this treatment had the greatest amount of habitat edge. We hypothesize that the non-monotonic species response to fragmentation was due to the differential effects of habitat edge on species movements across the habitat boundary between unmowed patches and mowed areas. A greater effect due to the amount of habitat edge rather than total patch area, at least among the range of patch sizes studied, suggests that the length of habitat edge may be quite important to the distribution and abundance of ground-dwelling animals in fragmented habitats.

Authors

Golden, David M. and Crist, Thomas O.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Oikos

Locations
DOI

10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.900311.x

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

Responses of ant communities to dry sulfur deposition from mining emissions in semi-arid tropical Australia, with implications for the use of functional groupsHoffmann, Benjamin D.2000

Responses of ant communities to dry sulfur deposition from mining emissions in semi-arid tropical Australia, with implications for the use of functional groups

Keywords

air pollution; bioindicators; ecological change; functional groups; mining emissions; off-site impacts; savannah; sulfur dioxide

Abstract

The impact of dry deposition of SO2 emissions on ant abundance, diversity and composition was investigated at Mount Isa in the semiarid tropics of northern Australia. Forty plots were sampled, stratified at two levels: sulfur deposition zones (high, medium, low, and two control zones) and habitat (Ridge and Plain). The two habitats supported distinctly different ant communities. Ants had clear responses to SO2 emissions. Ant abundance was lowest in the high and medium sulfur zones in both habitats. Species richness in high SO2 plots (up to 5 km from the source) was approximately half that of control plots in Ridge habitat, and was substantially less than controls in the Plain habitat. Ant community composition in the high sulfur zone was clearly separated from those of other zones in ordinations. Vector fitting showed soil SO4 concentration as a primary correlative factor in this separation. Ant abundance and richness were both negatively correlated with soil SO4 concentration, and positively correlated with plant species richness and distance away from the smelters. The abundance of 10 of the 21 most common species showed significant responses to emissions. Five species showed positive responses, and all belong to species-groups known to be abundant at disturbed sites throughout northern Australia. Relative abundance and richness of Eyrean (arid adapted) taxa collectively responded positively to sulfur, and Torresian (tropical) and Widespread species responded negatively. Despite large changes in species composition and abundances, there was relatively little change in the abundance of functional groups that have been widely used in studies of Australian ant communities. Ants are sensitive to SO2 emissions and appear to be good candidates as an indicator group in this context. However, an alternative functional group framework is required for the identification of recurrent responses of arid zone ant communities to disturbance.

Authors

Hoffmann, Benjamin D., Griffiths, Anthony D. and Andersen, Alan N.

Year Published

2000

Publication

Austral Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1442-9993.2000.tb00071.x

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