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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

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ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
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

Spatial Grain and the Causes of Regional Diversity Gradients in AntsKaspari, Michael2003

Spatial Grain and the Causes of Regional Diversity Gradients in Ants

Keywords

ants, area, biodiversity, speciation, temperature, spatial scale

Abstract

Gradients of species richness (S; the number of species of a given taxon in a given area and time) are ubiquitous. A key goal in ecology is to understand whether and how the many processes that generate these gradients act at different spatial scales. Here we evaluate six hypotheses for diversity gradients with 49 New World ant communities, from tundra to rain forest. We contrast their performance at three spatial grains from Splot, the average number of ant species nesting in a m2 plot, through Fisher’s α, an index that treats our 30 1‐m2 plots as subsamples of a locality’s diversity. At the smallest grain, Splot was tightly correlated ( ) with colony abundance in a fashion indistinguishable from the packing of randomly selected individuals into a fixed space. As spatial grain increased, the coaction of two factors linked to high net rates of diversification—warm temperatures and large areas of uniform climate—accounted for 75% of the variation in Fisher’s α. However, the mechanisms underlying these correlations (i.e., precisely how temperature and area shape the balance of speciation to extinction) remain elusive.

Authors

Kaspari, Michael, Yuan, May and Alonso, Leeanne

Year Published

2003

Publication

The American Naturalist

Locations
DOI

10.1086/367906

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

Response of African savanna ants to long-term fire regimesPARR, CATHERINE L.2004

Response of African savanna ants to long-term fire regimes

Keywords

assemblage composition; burning; conservation; resilience; resistance

Abstract

1 Despite the fact that fire is considered an important disturbance in savannas across the world and is used widely as a management tool in conservation areas, little is known about the effects of burning on their insect communities. 2 This study made use of a 50-year fire experiment to investigate the responses of ant assemblages to long-term burning regimes. The effects of fire frequency, season and time since fire (fuel age) were tested on epigaeic ants across three savanna vegetation types (Mopane woodland, Acacia savanna and Terminalia woodland) in Kruger National Park, South Africa. 3 There was no significant effect of burning on mean ant species richness and abundance between treatments, although there were significant differences in ant assemblage composition between burned (treatment) and unburned (control) plots. The effects of season, frequency of burn and plot age on assemblage structure were weak and often not significant. 4 Epigaeic ant assemblages in this savanna system appeared to be highly resistant and resilient to burning. The response of ants to fire was linked to changes in habitat cover and structure: the effect of fire on vegetation and ants was less pronounced in lower rainfall areas, where differences in vegetation structure between burnt and unburnt plots were less pronounced than in higher rainfall areas. 5 Synthesis and applications. The effect of fire on ant assemblages in the mid- to northern Kruger National Park depends on whether a patch burns or not, rather than the specifics of the burning treatment. Thus, conservation managers can focus concerns regarding the subtleties of fire regimes on other taxa or areas of particular concern.

Authors

PARR, CATHERINE L., ROBERTSON, HAMISH G., BIGGS, HARRY C. and CHOWN, STEVEN L.

Year Published

2004

Publication

Journal of Applied Ecology

Locations
DOI

10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00920.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

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

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

The effects of fire on ant communities in north-western Patagonia: the importance of habitat structure and regional contextFarji-Brener, Alejandro G.2002

The effects of fire on ant communities in north-western Patagonia: the importance of habitat structure and regional context

Keywords

Ants; diversity; disturbance; fire; Patagonia; regional species pool; vegetation structure

Abstract

We investigated the effects of recent fires on the native ant communities in two habitats of north-west Patagonia that differ in vegetation structural complexity. Using bait traps, we sampled ants in replicated scrub and steppe areas including paired burned and unburned sites. Fires significantly reduced plant cover and ant diversity only in scrub sites. The drop in diversity was due to (a) a reduction in the abundance of rare species associated with woody vegetation, and (b) an increase in the abundance of the dominant species, which thrive in more xeric microclimatic conditions. Consequently, ant assemblage structure of burned scrub approaches that of steppe sites. Our findings suggest that the effects of disturbances on ant assemblages depends both on habitat characteristics, which in turn determine the extent of the changes induced by the disturbance, and on the regional context of the ant fauna, which in turn determines the ability of the ants to deal with the post-disturbance conditions.

Authors

Farji-Brener, Alejandro G., Corley, J. C. and Bettinelli, J.

Year Published

2002

Publication

Diversity <html_ent glyph="@amp;" ascii="&amp;"/> Distributions

Locations
DOI

10.1046/j.1472-4642.2002.00133.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

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