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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
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

ANT BIODIVERSITY IN SEMIARID LANDSCAPE MOSAICS: THE CONSEQUENCES OF GRAZING VS. NATURAL HETEROGENEITYBestelmeyer, Brandon T.2001

ANT BIODIVERSITY IN SEMIARID LANDSCAPE MOSAICS: THE CONSEQUENCES OF GRAZING VS. NATURAL HETEROGENEITY

Keywords

ants; canonical correspondence analysis; desert grassland; diversity; Formicidae; grazing; habitat classification; shortgrass steppe; soil texture

Abstract

The conservation of biodiversity in landscape mosaics requires an under- standing of the impacts of human land use within mosaic elements and an evaluation of the biological uniqueness of different elements. We address these issues by examining patterns of ant diversity in three semiarid rangeland landscapes used predominantly for grazing. These landscapes lie along a regional gradient from shortgrass steppe through a transitional zone to desert grassland, along which climate and ant species composition vary. Within each landscape, we compared the effects of grazing and natural variation in soils and vegetation on ant diversity and community composition. Grazing had little effect on ant richness, diversity, or composition at the transitional zone or the desert grassland site, but ungrazed areas at the shortgrass steppe site had a higher overall richness and favored the abundance of some species. Some samples of saltbush ( Atriplex canescens ) shrubland were similar to ungrazed samples in richness and species composition. In both the tran- sitional zone and the desert grassland, creosotebush ( Larrea tridentata )-dominated habitats harbored comparatively species-rich and distinct ant communities. In addition, mesquite ( Prosopis glandulosa ) coppice dunes at the desert grassland site favored the abundance of several species that were rare across the site. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that variation in soil strength and texture best explained community variation at the short- grass steppe site, whereas soil texture and associated differences in shrub density best explained differences in composition at the transitional and desert grassland sites. The characterization of habitats based upon vegetation classification did not adequately reflect environmental variation that was important to ants in shortgrass steppe, but reflected im- portant soil textural variation in the transitional and desert grassland sites. These results suggest that ant conservation in these semiarid rangelands should emphasize patterns of variation in soil properties. The results add to a growing consensus that a variety of variables determined by the responses of several focal taxa may be needed to characterize biodiversity patterns.

Authors

Bestelmeyer, Brandon T. and Wiens, John A.

Year Published

2001

Publication

Ecological Applications

Locations
DOI

10.1890/1051-0761(2001)011[1123:ABISLM]2.0.CO;2

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoodsLubertazzi, David2003

Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

Keywords

Formicidae, Pinus palustris, Solenopsis invicta, conservation biology, ant community

Abstract

Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

Authors

Lubertazzi, David and Tschinkel, Walter R.

Year Published

2003

Publication

Journal of Insect Science

Locations
DOI

10.1673/031.003.2101

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

Ants on the Move: Resource Limitation of a Litter-nesting Ant Community in Costa Rica1McGlynn, Terrence P.2006

Ants on the Move: Resource Limitation of a Litter-nesting Ant Community in Costa Rica1

Keywords

competition; Costa Rica; density; leaf litter; nest relocation; Pheidole; resource limitation; Solenopsis; tropical rain forest

Abstract

The leaf litter of tropical wet forests is replete with itinerant ant nests. Nest movement may help ants evade the constraints of stress and disturbance and increase access to resources. I studied how nest relocation and environmental factors may explain the density, size, and growth of leaf litter ant nests. I decoupled the relationships among litter depth, food abundance, and nest availability in a 4-mo manipulation of food and leaf litter in a community of litter-nesting ants in a lowland wet forest in Costa Rica. Over 4 mo, 290 1 m2 treatment and control plots were sampled without replacement. Nest densities doubled in response to food supplementation, but did not decrease in response to litter removal or stress (from litter trampling). The supplementation of food increased the utilization of less favored nesting materials. In response to food supplementation and litter trampling, arboreal ants established nests in the litter, and growth rates of the most common ants (Pheidole spp.) increased. Colony growth was independent of colony size and growth rates of the most abundant ants. In general, I conclude that litter-nesting ant density is driven primarily by food limitation, that nest relocation behavior significantly affects access to resource and the demographic structure of this community, and that nest fission may be a method to break the growth–reproduction trade-off.

Authors

McGlynn, Terrence P.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Biotropica

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00153.x

Ants, altitude and change in the northern Cape Floristic RegionBotes, A.2006

Ants, altitude and change in the northern Cape Floristic Region

Keywords

Ants; climate change; conservation; myrmecochores; spatial autocorrelation; species–environment relationships; South Africa; species richness

Abstract

Aim  Climate-modelling exercises have demonstrated that the Cape Floristic Region is highly sensitive to climate change and will apparently lose much of its northern limits over the next few decades. Because there is little monitoring of diversity in this area, ant assemblage structure was investigated within the main vegetation types in the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor. In particular, we sought to determine how ant assemblage structure differs between the main vegetation types, how restricted ants – and in particular the major myrmecochores – are to the major vegetation types, and which environmental variables might underlie differences in the ant assemblages and in the specificity of species to particular areas. Location  Northern Cape Floristic Region, Western Cape, South Africa. Methods  Sampling was undertaken during October 2002 and March 2003 across an altitudinal gradient ranging from sea level (Lambert's Bay) to c. 2000 m a.s.l. (Sneeukop, Cederberg) and down again to 500 m a.s.l. (Wupperthal) in the Western Cape, South Africa. Pitfall traps were used to sample ants at 17 altitudinal bands, stretching over three vegetation types (Strandveld, Mountain Fynbos and Succulent Karoo). Biotic and abiotic environmental variables were collected at each sampling site. Generalized linear models were used to determine the relationships between species richness, density, abundance and the abundance of the major myrmecochores, and the environmental variables. Redundancy analysis was used to determine the relationship between ant assemblage structure and the environmental variables. The Indicator Value Method was used to identify characteristic ant species for each vegetation type and altitudinal site. Results  Temperature explained significant proportions of the variation in species density and abundance, and, together with area and several vegetation variables, contributed significantly to the separation of the assemblages in the major vegetation types and biomes. Four major myrmecochores were identified [Anoplolepis sp. (cf. custodiens), Anoplolepis sp. (cf. steinergroeveri), Camponotus niveosetosus, Tetramorium quadrispinosum]. The abundances of the two Anoplolepis species were related to vegetation variables, while the abundance of the other two species showed opposite relationships with temperature variables. Fourteen ant species were characteristic of certain vegetation types and altitudes. Several of these species contributed to the differences between the assemblages. Main conclusions  There are likely to be substantial and complex changes to ant assemblages as climates change in the northern Cape Floristic Region. Moreover, the importance of ants for ecosystem functioning suggests that these responses are not only likely to be a response solely to vegetation changes, but might also precipitate vegetation changes. The changes that are predicted to take place in the next 50 years in the Cape Floristic Region could be substantially exacerbated by such synergistic effects, which have major implications for long-term conservation plans. Ongoing monitoring of this transect will reveal the nature and pace of the change as it unfolds.

Authors

Botes, A., McGeoch, M. A., Robertson, H. G., Niekerk, A., Davids, H. P. and Chown, S. L.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Journal of Biogeography

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01336.x

Beyond the least-cost path: evaluating corridor redundancy using a graph-theoretic approachPinto, Naiara2009

Beyond the least-cost path: evaluating corridor redundancy using a graph-theoretic approach

Keywords

Agroecosystems, Atlantic forest, Brazil, Functional connectivity, Corridors, Cost distance, Dispersal, Fragmentation, Graph theory, Matrix, Migration, Shortest path

Abstract

The impact of the landscape matrix on patterns of animal movement and population dynamics has been widely recognized by ecologists. However, few tools are available to model the matrix’s influence on the length, relative quality, and redundancy of dispersal routes connecting habitat patches. Many GIS software packages can use land use/land cover maps to identify the route of least resistance between two points—the least-cost path. The limitation of this type of analysis is that only a single path is identified, even though alternative paths with comparable costs might exist. In this paper, we implemented two graph theory methods that extend the least-cost path approach: the Conditional Minimum Transit Cost (CMTC) tool and the Multiple Shortest Paths (MSPs) tool. Both methods enable the visualization of multiple dispersal routes that, together, are assumed to form a corridor. We show that corridors containing alternative dispersal routes emerge when favorable habitat is randomly distributed in space. As clusters of favorable habitat start forming, corridors become less redundant and dispersal bottlenecks become visible. Our approach is illustrated using data from a real landscape in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. We explored the effect of small, localized disturbance on dispersal routes linking conservation units. Simulated habitat destruction caused the appearance of alternative dispersal routes, or caused existing corridors to become narrower. These changes were observed even in the absence of significant differences in the length or cost of least-cost paths. Last, we discuss applications to animal movement studies and conservation initiatives.

Authors

Pinto, Naiara and Keitt, Timothy H.

Year Published

2009

Publication

Landscape Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s10980-008-9303-y

Contrasting fire-related resilience of ecologically dominant ants in tropical savannas of northern AustraliaAndersen, Alan N.2007

Contrasting fire-related resilience of ecologically dominant ants in tropical savannas of northern Australia

Keywords

Biogeography; fire experiment; Iridomyrmex; Oecophylla; rain forest; savanna/rain forest dynamics

Abstract

This paper examines the role of fire in mediating the relative abundance of two of the world's major ecologically dominant ant genera, Iridomyrmex and Oecophylla, where they coexist across the tropical savanna landscapes of northern Australia. These taxa have contrasting biogeographical histories, which are predicted to lead to contrasting responses to fire. Iridomyrmex is an autochthonous Australian genus that has radiated primarily in the arid zone; as such, its abundance is predicted to be promoted by frequent fire because this maintains an open habitat. In contrast, Oecophylla is a genus of leaf-nesting ants occurring in the canopies of Old World tropical rainforest, and is a recent arrival to Australia in geological time; the abundance of these ants is predicted to decline under frequent fire. We test these predictions using results from a landscape-scale fire experiment, where three experimental fire regimes (including no fire) were applied to replicated subcatchments over a 5-year period. Using sweep nets, ants were sampled in the grass layer (the habitat layer of greatest overlap between Iridomyrmex and Oecophylla) in eucalypt woodland (canopy cover < 30%) and open eucalypt forest (canopy cover about 50%) habitats. A total of 27 species from 11 genera were collected during the study; eight were common enough for statistical analysis, and the abundances of four of these were significantly affected by fire treatment. As predicted, the abundance of Iridomyrmex was promoted by fire, whereas that of Oecophylla declined. These changes occurred only under late-season (relatively high intensity) fires, and for Oecophylla occurred only in open forest (not woodland) habitat. This fire-mediated relationship between Iridomyrmex and Oecophylla mirrors the much broader, ecosystem-wide dynamic between eucalypt-dominated savanna and rainforest in tropical Australia, with savannas dominated by fire-resistant sclerophyll elements of Australian origin, and rainforest dominated by fire-sensitive mesophyll elements of South-East Asian origin.

Authors

Andersen, Alan N., PARR, CATHERINE L., Lowe, Lyn M. and Muller, Warren J.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Diversity And Distributions

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00353.x

Different responses of plants and herbivore insects to a gradient of vegetation height: an indicator of the vertebrate grazing intensity and successional agePöyry, Juha2006

Different responses of plants and herbivore insects to a gradient of vegetation height: an indicator of the vertebrate grazing intensity and successional age

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

Empirical studies have suggested that species richness of grassland insects usually decreases under grazing management. By contrast, grazing has been shown to increase the species density and richness of vascular plants, especially on productive soils. In order to test the suggested differences in response to management between plants and insects, we simultaneously studied species richness of vascular plants and their insect herbivores, butterflies and moths, in 68 semi-natural grasslands with varying grazing intensity and frequency in SW Finland. Species richness of plants and insects was for the first time related to a quantitative measure of disturbance intensity and successional age, mean vegetation height, by using generalized additive models (GAM). The effects of soil nutrients on vegetation height were accounted for by using phosphorus concentration as a productivity surrogate. The results showed that species richness of butterflies and moths peaked in taller vegetation compared with vascular plants, corresponding to a lower disturbance intensity and increasing time since abandonment. These patterns are discussed in the light of two hypotheses, the “structural diversity hypothesis” and “dynamic equilibrium model” of Huston, both suggesting a weaker disturbance tolerance of insects compared with plants. Butterflies and moths which are specialists in their larval host-plant use (monophagous and oligophagous species) preferred lower vegetation (higher disturbances) compared with generalists (polyphagous species), as predicted by Huston's model. This difference indicates a stronger relationship with plant species richness for specialist than for generalist butterflies and moths. Our results support the application of regionally and temporally varying grazing intensities in grassland conservation management.

Authors

Pöyry, Juha, Luoto, Miska, Paukkunen, Juho, Pykälä, Juha, Raatikainen, Katja and Kuussaari, Mikko

Year Published

2006

Publication

Oikos

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.2006.0030-1299.15126.x

Does desertification diminish biodiversity? Enhancement of ant diversity by shrub invasion in south-western USABestelmeyer, BT2005

Does desertification diminish biodiversity? Enhancement of ant diversity by shrub invasion in south-western USA

Keywords

desert grassland; Dorymyrmex bicolor; Forelius; Formicidae; functional group; Prosopis glandulosa

Abstract

The conversion of desert grasslands to shrublands is a long-standing concern in the south-western United States, but the effects of this change on native animals defy generalization. Here, I consider evidence that shrub invasion and encroachment, particularly that of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), has led to increasing ecological dominance and diversity of ants in general, as well as increases in specific native taxa. The effects of shrub invasion on ants were measured at two scales: (1) between Chihuahuan Desert landscapes that vary slightly in temperature and strongly in the dominance of mesquite, and (2) across variation in mesquite density occurring within a generally mesquite-dominated landscape. Ant richness and numerical dominance was measured at pitfall traps over 2 years and baits were used to assess ecological dominance across different temperatures. The mesquite-dominated Jornada site harboured four times the number of ant foragers found at the relatively 'pristine' Sevilleta site, with several ecologically dominant taxa driving this pattern, especially Dorymyrmex bicolor. Species richness and ecological dominance were also greatest at the Jornada. Within the Jornada landscape, turnover in species composition was related to mesquite density, but local richness and abundance was unrelated to mesquite density. Coupled with the results of previous manipulative experiments and comparative studies, there is support for the notion that ant diversity is not negatively affected by shrub invasion but that several taxa prosper from it. The Jornada is uniquely saturated by dominant ant taxa, perhaps as a consequence of an overall high level of shrub availability that provides a reliable source of carbohydrate-rich plant exudates. This raises important questions about the relationship between environmental degradation, ecosystem productivity, and animal diversity.

Authors

Bestelmeyer, BT

Year Published

2005

Publication

Diversity And Distributions

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.1366-9516.2005.00122.x

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