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Sample records for invasive ant communities

  1. Carbohydrate supply limits invasion of natural communities by Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2009-08-01

    The ability of species to invade new habitats is often limited by various biotic and physical factors or interactions between the two. Invasive ants, frequently associated with human activities, flourish in disturbed urban and agricultural environments. However, their ability to invade and establish in natural habitats is more variable. This is particularly so for the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). While biotic resistance and low soil moisture limits their invasion of natural habitats in some instances, the effect of food availability has been poorly explored. We conducted field experiments to determine if resource availability limits the spread and persistence of Argentine ants in remnant natural forest in North Carolina. Replicated transects paired with and without sucrose solution feeding stations were run from invaded urban edges into forest remnants and compared over time using baits and direct counts at feeding stations. Repeated under different timing regimes in 2006 and 2007, access to sucrose increased local Argentine ant abundances (1.6-2.5 fold) and facilitated their progression into the forest up to 73 +/- 21% of 50-m transects. Resource removal caused an expected decrease in Argentine ant densities in 2006, in conjunction with their retreat to the urban/forest boundary. However, in 2007, Argentine ant numbers unexpectedly continued to increase in the absence of sugar stations, possibly through access to alternative resources or conditions not available the previous year such as honeydew-excreting Hemiptera. Our results showed that supplementing carbohydrate supply facilitates invasion of natural habitat by Argentine ants. This is particularly evident where Argentine ants continued to thrive following sugar station removal.

  2. [Influences of Solenopsis invicta buren invasion on the native ant communities in different habitats in Guangdong].

    PubMed

    Wu, Bi-qiu; Lu, Yong-yue; Zeng, Ling; Liang, Guang-wen

    2008-01-01

    By using pitfall and bait traps, an investigation was made on the diversity and similarity of ant communities in the areas infested and un-infested with Solenopsis invicta Buren in Shenzhen of Guangdong. The results showed that under the invasion of S. invicta, the ant species number in lawn and wasteland reduced obviously, with a decrease of 6 in lawn and 3 in wasteland, and the native dominant ant species in lichee orchard, especially in wasteland and lawn, were replaced by S. invicta. With the infestation of S. invicta, the diversity and evenness of ant communities in wasteland and lawn decreased but the predominance increased obviously, while it was in adverse in lichee orchard. The similarity coefficients of the ant communities between S. invicta infested and un-infested lichee orchard, wasteland and lawn were 0.6316, 0.5882 and 0.2941, respectively.

  3. Abiotic factors control invasion by Argentine ants at the community scale.

    PubMed

    Menke, Sean B; Holway, David A

    2006-03-01

    1. A prominent and unresolved question in ecology concerns why communities differ in their susceptibility to invasion. While studies often emphasize biotic resistance, it is less widely appreciated how the physical environment affects community vulnerability to invasion. 2. In this study we performed field experiments to test how abiotic variation directly and indirectly influences the extent to which Linepithema humile Mayr (Argentine ants) invade seasonally dry environments in southern California. 3. In controlled and replicated experiments involving drip irrigation, we demonstrate (i) that elevated levels of soil moisture increased both the abundance of Argentine ants and their ability to invade native ant communities and (ii) that cessation of irrigation caused declines in the abundance of Argentine ants and led to their withdrawal from previously occupied areas. 4. Because drip irrigation stimulated plant growth, in an additional experiment we manipulated both soil moisture and plant cover to assess the direct vs. indirect effects of added water on the abundance of L. humile. 5. Local abundance of Argentine ants increased in irrigated plots but was 38% higher in irrigated plots with plants compared to irrigated plots where plant growth was suppressed. The results of this experiment thus argue for a direct role of soil moisture in influencing Argentine ant abundance but suggest that that the indirect effects of added water may also be important. 6. Our study illustrates more generally that fine-scale variation in the physical environment can control whether communities become invaded by non-native species and suggests that an understanding of community susceptibility to invasion will be improved by a better appreciation of interactions between the biotic and abiotic environment.

  4. The Ants Go Marching Millions by Millions: Invasive Ant Research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  5. The ants go marching millions by millions: invasive ant research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  6. Raves & rants about invasive crazy ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Crazy ants” is a name that refers to various species of ants that are characterized by erratic, scurrying, or running, behavior when disturbed. Two of these species, the yellow crazy ant and the Caribbean or Rasberry [sic] crazy ant, are invasive with extremely large populations that inundate lands...

  7. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    PubMed

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R; Nash, David R; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  8. The Evolution of Invasiveness in Garden Ants

    PubMed Central

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V.; Drijfhout, Falko P.; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C.; Steiner, Florian M.; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P.; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S.; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R.; Nash, David R.; Pedersen, Jes S.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  9. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types-claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32-38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55-63% higher wing loading, and 32-33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants.

  10. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types-claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32-38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55-63% higher wing loading, and 32-33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  11. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Helms, Jackson A.; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types—claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32–38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55–63% higher wing loading, and 32–33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  12. Effects of an alien ant invasion on abundance, behavior, and reproductive success of endemic island birds.

    PubMed

    Davis, Naomi E; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Green, Peter T; Nally, Ralph Mac

    2008-10-01

    Biological invaders can reconfigure ecological networks in communities, which changes community structure, composition, and ecosystem function. We investigated whether impacts caused by the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), a pantropical invader rapidly expanding its range, extend to higher-order consumers by comparing counts, behaviors, and nesting success of endemic forest birds in ant-invaded and uninvaded rainforest on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Point counts and direct behavioral observations showed that ant invasion altered abundances and behaviors of the bird species we examined: the Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus), Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica natalis), and Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis). The thrush, which frequents the forest floor, altered its foraging and reproductive behaviors in ant-invaded forest, where nest-site location changed, and nest success and juvenile counts were lower. Counts of the dove, which forages exclusively on the forest floor, were 9-14 times lower in ant-invaded forest. In contrast, counts and foraging success of the white-eye, a generalist feeder in the understory and canopy, were higher in ant-invaded forest, where mutualism between the ant and honeydew-secreting scale insects increased the abundance of scale-insect prey. These complex outcomes involved the interplay of direct interference by ants and altered resource availability and habitat structure caused indirectly by ant invasion. Ecological meltdown, rapidly unleashed by ant invasion, extended to these endemic forest birds and may affect key ecosystem processes, including seed dispersal.

  13. Biotic and abiotic controls of argentine ant invasion success at local and landscape scales

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Menke, S.B.; Fisher, R.N.; Jetz, W.; Holway, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    Although the ecological success of introduced species hinges on biotic interactions and physical conditions, few experimental studies - especially on animals - have simultaneously investigated the relative importance of both types of factors. The lack of such research may stem from the common assumption that native and introduced species exhibit similar environmental tolerances. Here we combine experimental and spatial modeling approaches (1) to determine the relative importance of biotic and abiotic controls of Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) invasion success, (2) to examine how the importance of these factors changes with spatial scale in southern California (USA), and (3) to assess how Argentine ants differ from native ants in their environmental tolerances. A factorial field experiment that combined native ant removal with irrigation revealed that Argentine ants failed to invade any dry plots (even those lacking native ants) but readily invaded all moist plots. Native ants slowed the spread of Argentine ants into irrigated plots but did not prevent invasion. In areas without Argentine ants, native ant species showed variable responses to irrigation. At the landscape scale, Argentine ant occurrence was positively correlated with minimum winter temperature (but not precipitation), whereas native ant diversity increased with precipitation and was negatively correlated with minimum winter temperature. These results are of interest for several reasons. First, they demonstrate that fine-scale differences in the physical environment can eclipse biotic resistance from native competitors in determining community susceptibility to invasion. Second, our results illustrate surprising complexities with respect to how the abiotic factors limiting invasion can change with spatial scale, and third, how native and invasive species can differ in their responses to the physical environment. Idiosyncratic and scale-dependent processes complicate attempts to forecast where

  14. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms.

  15. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms. PMID:26830293

  16. Invasive Fire Ants Reduce Reproductive Success and Alter the Reproductive Strategies of a Native Vertebrate Insectivore

    PubMed Central

    Ligon, Russell A.; Siefferman, Lynn; Hill, Geoffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    Background Introduced organisms can alter ecosystems by disrupting natural ecological relationships. For example, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have disrupted native arthropod communities throughout much of their introduced range. By competing for many of the same food resources as insectivorous vertebrates, fire ants also have the potential to disrupt vertebrate communities. Methodology/Principal Findings To explore the effects of fire ants on a native insectivorous vertebrate, we compared the reproductive success and strategies of eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) inhabiting territories with different abundances of fire ants. We also created experimental dyads of adjacent territories comprised of one territory with artificially reduced fire ant abundance (treated) and one territory that was unmanipulated (control). We found that more bluebird young fledged from treated territories than from adjacent control territories. Fire ant abundance also explained significant variation in two measures of reproductive success across the study population: number of fledglings and hatching success of second clutches. Furthermore, the likelihood of bluebird parents re-nesting in the same territory was negatively influenced by the abundance of foraging fire ants, and parents nesting in territories with experimentally reduced abundances of fire ants produced male-biased broods relative to pairs in adjacent control territories. Conclusions/Significance Introduced fire ants altered both the reproductive success (number of fledglings, hatching success) and strategies (decision to renest, offspring sex-ratio) of eastern bluebirds. These results illustrate the negative effects that invasive species can have on native biota, including species from taxonomically distant groups. PMID:21799904

  17. A neurotoxic pesticide changes the outcome of aggressive interactions between native and invasive ants.

    PubMed

    Barbieri, Rafael F; Lester, Philip J; Miller, Alexander S; Ryan, Ken G

    2013-12-01

    Neurotoxic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, negatively affect the cognitive capacity and fitness of non-target species, and could also modify interspecific interactions. We tested whether sublethal contamination with neonicotinoid could affect foraging, colony fitness and the outcome of behavioural interactions between a native (Monomorium antarcticum) and an invasive ant species (Linepithema humile). The foraging behaviour of both ants was not affected by neonicotinoid exposure. Colonies of the invasive species exposed to the neonicotinoid produced significantly fewer brood. In interspecific confrontations, individuals of the native species exposed to the neonicotinoid lowered their aggression towards the invasive species, although their survival probability was not affected. Exposed individuals of the invasive species interacting with non-exposed native ants displayed increased aggression and had their survival probability reduced. Non-exposed individuals of the invasive species were less aggressive but more likely to survive when interacting with exposed native ants. These results suggest that non-target exposure of invaders to neonicotinoids could either increase or decrease the probability of survival according to the exposure status of the native species. Given that, in any community, different species have different food preferences, and thus different exposure to pesticides, non-target exposure could potentially change the dynamics of communities and influence invasion success.

  18. Mutualism between co-introduced species facilitates invasion and alters plant community structure

    PubMed Central

    Prior, Kirsten M.; Robinson, Jennifer M.; Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A.; Frederickson, Megan E.

    2015-01-01

    Generalized mutualisms are often predicted to be resilient to changes in partner identity. Variation in mutualism-related traits between native and invasive species however, can exacerbate the spread of invasive species (‘invasional meltdown’) if invasive partners strongly interact. Here we show how invasion by a seed-dispersing ant (Myrmica rubra) promotes recruitment of a co-introduced invasive over native ant-dispersed (myrmecochorous) plants. We created experimental communities of invasive (M. rubra) or native ants (Aphaenogaster rudis) and invasive and native plants and measured seed dispersal and plant recruitment. In our mesocosms, and in laboratory and field trials, M. rubra acted as a superior seed disperser relative to the native ant. By contrast, previous studies have found that invasive ants are often poor seed dispersers compared with native ants. Despite belonging to the same behavioural guild, seed-dispersing ants were not functionally redundant. Instead, native and invasive ants had strongly divergent effects on plant communities: the invasive plant dominated in the presence of the invasive ant and the native plants dominated in the presence of the native ant. Community changes were not due to preferences for coevolved partners: variation in functional traits of linked partners drove differences. Here, we show that strongly interacting introduced mutualists can be major drivers of ecological change. PMID:25540283

  19. Mutualism between co-introduced species facilitates invasion and alters plant community structure.

    PubMed

    Prior, Kirsten M; Robinson, Jennifer M; Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Frederickson, Megan E

    2015-02-01

    Generalized mutualisms are often predicted to be resilient to changes in partner identity. Variation in mutualism-related traits between native and invasive species however, can exacerbate the spread of invasive species ('invasional meltdown') if invasive partners strongly interact. Here we show how invasion by a seed-dispersing ant (Myrmica rubra) promotes recruitment of a co-introduced invasive over native ant-dispersed (myrmecochorous) plants. We created experimental communities of invasive (M. rubra) or native ants (Aphaenogaster rudis) and invasive and native plants and measured seed dispersal and plant recruitment. In our mesocosms, and in laboratory and field trials, M. rubra acted as a superior seed disperser relative to the native ant. By contrast, previous studies have found that invasive ants are often poor seed dispersers compared with native ants. Despite belonging to the same behavioural guild, seed-dispersing ants were not functionally redundant. Instead, native and invasive ants had strongly divergent effects on plant communities: the invasive plant dominated in the presence of the invasive ant and the native plants dominated in the presence of the native ant. Community changes were not due to preferences for coevolved partners: variation in functional traits of linked partners drove differences. Here, we show that strongly interacting introduced mutualists can be major drivers of ecological change. PMID:25540283

  20. Survey of invasive ants at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.

    2011-01-01

    We conducted a survey for invasive ants at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai‘i Island, during 2009–2010 to evaluate potential threats to native arthropod communities and food webs. The focal area of the survey was the upper portion of the Hakalau Unit of the refuge, where native forest was being restored in abandoned cattle pastures. This area, between 1575 and 1940 m elevations, contained much alien kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), but koa (Acacia koa) trees and other native species that were planted in the past 20 years were rapidly filling in the pasture. We surveyed for ants at predetermined points along roads, fences, and corridors of planted koa. Sampling methods primarily consisted of hand searching and pitfall traps, but bait cards were used additionally in some instances. Our results indicated that a single species, Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, was widespread across the upper portion of the refuge. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi seemed absent, or at least rare, in areas of tall, dense grass. Due to the undulating topography of the area, however, the dense grass cover was interspersed with outcroppings of exposed, gravelly soil. Presumably due to warming by the sun, many of the outcropped habitats supported colonies of C. kagutsuchi. We did not detect ants in the old-growth forest below the abandoned pastures, presumably because microhabitat conditions under the forest canopy were unsuitable. Although ecological impacts of C. kagutsuchi have not been reported, they may be limited by the small size of the ant, the relatively small size of colonies, and the apparent preference of the ant for disturbed areas that are dominated by alien species. Notably, our survey of Keanakolu-Mana Road between the Observatory Road (John A. Burns Way) and the town of Waimea detected a population of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) approximately 5.1 km north of the Maulua Section of the refuge. We also surveyed for ants on the Kona Forest Unit of the refuge

  1. Invasive ants disrupt frugivory by endemic island birds

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Naomi E.; O'Dowd, Dennis J.; Mac Nally, Ralph; Green, Peter T.

    2010-01-01

    Biological invasions can alter direct and indirect interactions between species, generating far-reaching changes in ecological networks that affect key ecological functions. We used model and real fruit assays to show that the invasion and formation of high-density supercolonies by the yellow crazy ant (YCA), Anoplolepis gracilipes, disrupt frugivory by endemic birds on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. The overall handling rates of model fruits by birds were 2.2–2.4-fold lower in ant-invaded than in uninvaded rainforest, and pecking rates by two bird species declined by 2.6- and 4.5-fold, respectively. YCAs directly interfered with frugivory; their experimental exclusion from fruiting displays increased fruit handling threefold to sixfold, compounding indirect effects of ant invasion on resources and habitat structure that influence bird abundances and behaviours. This invasive ant, whose high densities are sustained through mutualism with introduced scale insects, rapidly decreases fruit handling by endemic island birds and may erode a key ecological function, seed dispersal. Because most other invasive ant species form expansive, high-density supercolonies that depend in part on association with hemipteran mutualists, the effects that we report here on avian frugivore–plant associations may emerge across their introduced ranges. PMID:19755533

  2. Invasive ants disrupt frugivory by endemic island birds.

    PubMed

    Davis, Naomi E; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Mac Nally, Ralph; Green, Peter T

    2010-02-23

    Biological invasions can alter direct and indirect interactions between species, generating far-reaching changes in ecological networks that affect key ecological functions. We used model and real fruit assays to show that the invasion and formation of high-density supercolonies by the yellow crazy ant (YCA), Anoplolepis gracilipes, disrupt frugivory by endemic birds on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. The overall handling rates of model fruits by birds were 2.2-2.4-fold lower in ant-invaded than in uninvaded rainforest, and pecking rates by two bird species declined by 2.6- and 4.5-fold, respectively. YCAs directly interfered with frugivory; their experimental exclusion from fruiting displays increased fruit handling threefold to sixfold, compounding indirect effects of ant invasion on resources and habitat structure that influence bird abundances and behaviours. This invasive ant, whose high densities are sustained through mutualism with introduced scale insects, rapidly decreases fruit handling by endemic island birds and may erode a key ecological function, seed dispersal. Because most other invasive ant species form expansive, high-density supercolonies that depend in part on association with hemipteran mutualists, the effects that we report here on avian frugivore-plant associations may emerge across their introduced ranges.

  3. Invasive ants alter foraging and parental behaviors of a native bird

    PubMed Central

    Siefferman, Lynn; Hill, Geoffrey E.

    2012-01-01

    Introduced species can exert outsized impacts on native biota through both direct (predation) and indirect (competition) effects. Ants frequently become established in new areas after being transported by humans across traditional biological or geographical barriers, and a prime example of such establishment is the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Introduced to North America in the 1930's, red imported fire ants are now firmly established throughout the southeastern United States. Although these invasive predators can dramatically impact native arthropods, their effect on vertebrates through resource competition is essentially unknown. Using a paired experimental design, we compared patterns of foraging and rates of provisioning for breeding eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) in unmanipulated (control) territories to those in adjacent (treated) territories where fire ants were experimentally reduced. Bluebirds inhabiting treated territories foraged nearer their nests and provisioned offspring more frequently than bluebirds inhabiting control territories with unmanipulated fire ant levels. Additionally, nestlings from treated territories were in better condition than those from control territories, though these differences were largely confined to early development. The elimination of significant differences in body condition towards the end of the nestling period suggests that bluebird parents in control territories were able to make up the food deficit caused by fire ants, potentially by working harder to adequately provision their offspring. The relationship between fire ant abundance and bluebird behavior hints at the complexity of ecological communities and suggests negative effects of invasive species are not limited to taxa with which they have direct contact. PMID:22844172

  4. The widespread collapse of an invasive species: Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Cooling, Meghan; Hartley, Stephen; Sim, Dalice A; Lester, Philip J

    2012-06-23

    Synergies between invasive species and climate change are widely considered to be a major biodiversity threat. However, invasive species are also hypothesized to be susceptible to population collapse, as we demonstrate for a globally important invasive species in New Zealand. We observed Argentine ant populations to have collapsed in 40 per cent of surveyed sites. Populations had a mean survival time of 14.1 years (95% CI = 12.9-15.3 years). Resident ant communities had recovered or partly recovered after their collapse. Our models suggest that climate change will delay colony collapse, as increasing temperature and decreasing rainfall significantly increased their longevity, but only by a few years. Economic and environmental costs of invasive species may be small if populations collapse on their own accord.

  5. Interaction complexity matters: disentangling services and disservices of ant communities driving yield in tropical agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Wielgoss, Arno; Tscharntke, Teja; Rumede, Alfianus; Fiala, Brigitte; Seidel, Hannes; Shahabuddin, Saleh; Clough, Yann

    2014-01-22

    Owing to complex direct and indirect effects, impacts of higher trophic levels on plants is poorly understood. In tropical agroecosystems, ants interact with crop mutualists and antagonists, but little is known about how this integrates into the final ecosystem service, crop yield. We combined ant exclusion and introduction of invasive and native-dominant species in cacao agroecosystems to test whether (i) ant exclusion reduces yield, (ii) dominant species maximize certain intermediate ecosystem services (e.g. control of specific pests) rather than yield, which depends on several, cascading intermediate services and (iii) even, species-rich ant communities result in highest yields. Ants provided services, including reduced leaf herbivory and fruit pest damage and indirect pollination facilitation, but also disservices, such as increased mealybug density, phytopathogen dissemination and indirect pest damage enhancement. Yields were highest with unmanipulated, species-rich, even communities, whereas ant exclusion decreased yield by 27%. Introduction of an invasive-dominant ant decreased species density and evenness and resulted in 34% lower yields, whereas introduction of a non-invasive-dominant species resulted in similar species density and yields as in the unmanipulated control. Species traits and ant community structure affect services and disservices for agriculture in surprisingly complex ways, with species-rich and even communities promoting highest yield.

  6. Interaction complexity matters: disentangling services and disservices of ant communities driving yield in tropical agroecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Wielgoss, Arno; Tscharntke, Teja; Rumede, Alfianus; Fiala, Brigitte; Seidel, Hannes; Shahabuddin, Saleh; Clough, Yann

    2014-01-01

    Owing to complex direct and indirect effects, impacts of higher trophic levels on plants is poorly understood. In tropical agroecosystems, ants interact with crop mutualists and antagonists, but little is known about how this integrates into the final ecosystem service, crop yield. We combined ant exclusion and introduction of invasive and native-dominant species in cacao agroecosystems to test whether (i) ant exclusion reduces yield, (ii) dominant species maximize certain intermediate ecosystem services (e.g. control of specific pests) rather than yield, which depends on several, cascading intermediate services and (iii) even, species-rich ant communities result in highest yields. Ants provided services, including reduced leaf herbivory and fruit pest damage and indirect pollination facilitation, but also disservices, such as increased mealybug density, phytopathogen dissemination and indirect pest damage enhancement. Yields were highest with unmanipulated, species-rich, even communities, whereas ant exclusion decreased yield by 27%. Introduction of an invasive-dominant ant decreased species density and evenness and resulted in 34% lower yields, whereas introduction of a non-invasive-dominant species resulted in similar species density and yields as in the unmanipulated control. Species traits and ant community structure affect services and disservices for agriculture in surprisingly complex ways, with species-rich and even communities promoting highest yield. PMID:24307667

  7. Invasive ants carry novel viruses in their new range and form reservoirs for a honeybee pathogen.

    PubMed

    Sébastien, Alexandra; Lester, Philip J; Hall, Richard J; Wang, Jing; Moore, Nicole E; Gruber, Monica A M

    2015-09-01

    When exotic animal species invade new environments they also bring an often unknown microbial diversity, including pathogens. We describe a novel and widely distributed virus in one of the most globally widespread, abundant and damaging invasive ants (Argentine ants, Linepithema humile). The Linepithema humile virus 1 is a dicistrovirus, a viral family including species known to cause widespread arthropod disease. It was detected in samples from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Argentine ants in New Zealand were also infected with a strain of Deformed wing virus common to local hymenopteran species, which is a major pathogen widely associated with honeybee mortality. Evidence for active replication of viral RNA was apparent for both viruses. Our results suggest co-introduction and exchange of pathogens within local hymenopteran communities. These viral species may contribute to the collapse of Argentine ant populations and offer new options for the control of a globally widespread invader. PMID:26562935

  8. Invasive ants carry novel viruses in their new range and form reservoirs for a honeybee pathogen.

    PubMed

    Sébastien, Alexandra; Lester, Philip J; Hall, Richard J; Wang, Jing; Moore, Nicole E; Gruber, Monica A M

    2015-09-01

    When exotic animal species invade new environments they also bring an often unknown microbial diversity, including pathogens. We describe a novel and widely distributed virus in one of the most globally widespread, abundant and damaging invasive ants (Argentine ants, Linepithema humile). The Linepithema humile virus 1 is a dicistrovirus, a viral family including species known to cause widespread arthropod disease. It was detected in samples from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Argentine ants in New Zealand were also infected with a strain of Deformed wing virus common to local hymenopteran species, which is a major pathogen widely associated with honeybee mortality. Evidence for active replication of viral RNA was apparent for both viruses. Our results suggest co-introduction and exchange of pathogens within local hymenopteran communities. These viral species may contribute to the collapse of Argentine ant populations and offer new options for the control of a globally widespread invader.

  9. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia

    PubMed Central

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N.; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities. PMID:23840639

  10. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    PubMed

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  11. Discovery-dominance trade-off among widespread invasive ant species.

    PubMed

    Bertelsmeier, Cleo; Avril, Amaury; Blight, Olivier; Jourdan, Hervé; Courchamp, Franck

    2015-07-01

    Ants are among the most problematic invasive species. They displace numerous native species, alter ecosystem processes, and can have negative impacts on agriculture and human health. In part, their success might stem from a departure from the discovery-dominance trade-off that can promote co-existence in native ant communities, that is, invasive ants are thought to be at the same time behaviorally dominant and faster discoverers of resources, compared to native species. However, it has not yet been tested whether similar asymmetries in behavioral dominance, exploration, and recruitment abilities also exist among invasive species. Here, we establish a dominance hierarchy among four of the most problematic invasive ants (Linepithema humile, Lasius neglectus, Wasmannia auropunctata, Pheidole megacephala) that may be able to arrive and establish in the same areas in the future. To assess behavioral dominance, we used confrontation experiments, testing the aggressiveness in individual and group interactions between all species pairs. In addition, to compare discovery efficiency, we tested the species' capacity to locate a food resource in a maze, and the capacity to recruit nestmates to exploit a food resource. The four species differed greatly in their capacity to discover resources and to recruit nestmates and to dominate the other species. Our results are consistent with a discovery-dominance trade-off. The species that showed the highest level of interspecific aggressiveness and dominance during dyadic interactions.

  12. Discovery–dominance trade-off among widespread invasive ant species

    PubMed Central

    Bertelsmeier, Cleo; Avril, Amaury; Blight, Olivier; Jourdan, Hervé; Courchamp, Franck

    2015-01-01

    Ants are among the most problematic invasive species. They displace numerous native species, alter ecosystem processes, and can have negative impacts on agriculture and human health. In part, their success might stem from a departure from the discovery–dominance trade-off that can promote co-existence in native ant communities, that is, invasive ants are thought to be at the same time behaviorally dominant and faster discoverers of resources, compared to native species. However, it has not yet been tested whether similar asymmetries in behavioral dominance, exploration, and recruitment abilities also exist among invasive species. Here, we establish a dominance hierarchy among four of the most problematic invasive ants (Linepithema humile, Lasius neglectus, Wasmannia auropunctata, Pheidole megacephala) that may be able to arrive and establish in the same areas in the future. To assess behavioral dominance, we used confrontation experiments, testing the aggressiveness in individual and group interactions between all species pairs. In addition, to compare discovery efficiency, we tested the species’ capacity to locate a food resource in a maze, and the capacity to recruit nestmates to exploit a food resource. The four species differed greatly in their capacity to discover resources and to recruit nestmates and to dominate the other species. Our results are consistent with a discovery–dominance trade-off. The species that showed the highest level of interspecific aggressiveness and dominance during dyadic interactions. PMID:26257879

  13. Genetic diversity is positively associated with fine-scale momentary abundance of an invasive ant

    PubMed Central

    Gruber, Monica A M; Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Ritchie, Peter A; Lester, Philip J

    2012-01-01

    Many introduced species become invasive despite genetic bottlenecks that should, in theory, decrease the chances of invasion success. By contrast, population genetic bottlenecks have been hypothesized to increase the invasion success of unicolonial ants by increasing the genetic similarity between descendent populations, thus promoting co-operation. We investigated these alternate hypotheses in the unicolonial yellow crazy ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes, which has invaded Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. We used momentary abundance as a surrogate measure of invasion success, and investigated the relationship between A. gracilipes genetic diversity and its abundance, and the effect of its abundance on species diversity and community structure. We also investigated whether selected habitat characteristics contributed to differences in A. gracilipes abundance, for which we found no evidence. Our results revealed a significant positive association between A. gracilipes genetic diversity and abundance. Invaded communities were less diverse and differed in structure from uninvaded communities, and these effects were stronger as A. gracilipes abundance increased. These results contradict the hypothesis that genetic bottlenecks may promote unicoloniality. However, our A. gracilipes study population has diverged since its introduction, which may have obscured evidence of the bottleneck that would likely have occurred on arrival. The relative importance of genetic diversity to invasion success may be context dependent, and the role of genetic diversity may be more obvious in the absence of highly favorable novel ecological conditions. PMID:23139870

  14. Distribution of invasive ants and methods for their control in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.; Snook, Kirsten; Euaparadorn, Melody

    2013-01-01

    The first invasive ants were detected in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) more than 80 years ago. Ecological impacts of these ants are largely unknown, but studies in Hawai`i and elsewhere increasingly show that invasive ants can reduce abundance and diversity of native arthropod communities as well as disrupt pollination and food webs. Prior to the present study, knowledge of ant distributions in HAVO has primarily been restricted to road- and trail-side surveys of the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa Strip sections of the park. Due to the risks that ants pose to HAVO resources, understanding their distributions and identifying tools to eradicate or control populations of the most aggressive species is an important objective of park managers. We mapped ant distributions in two of the most intensively managed sections of the park, Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku. We also tested the efficacy of baits to control the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), two of the most aggressive and ecologically destructive species in Hawai`i. Efficacy testing of formicidal bait was designed to provide park managers with options for eradicating small populations or controlling populations that occur at levels beyond which they can be eradicated. Within the Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku sections of HAVO we conducted systematic surveys of ant distributions at 1625 stations covering nearly 200 km of roads, fences, and transects between August 2008 and April 2010. Overall, 15 ant species were collected in the two areas, with 12 being found on Mauna Loa Strip and 11 at Kahuku. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi was most widespread at both sites, ranging in elevation from 920 to 2014 m, and was the only species found above 1530 m. Argentine ants and big-headed ants were also found in both areas, but their distributions did not overlap. Surveys of Argentine ants identified areas of infestation covering 560 ha at Mauna Loa Strip and 585 ha at Kahuku. At both sites

  15. Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Holway, David

    2015-10-01

    Invasions give rise to a wide range of ecological effects. Many invasions proceed without noticeable impacts on the resident biota, whereas others shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects, but controversy surrounds the extent of these impacts, especially with regard to how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainty in part results from the widespread use of low-resolution taxonomic data, which can mask the presence of other introduced species and make it difficult to isolate the effects of ant invasions on native species. Here, we use high-resolution taxonomic data to examine the effects of Argentine ant invasions on arthropods on Santa Cruz Island, California. We sampled arthropods in eight pairs of invaded and uninvaded plots and then collaborated with taxonomic experts to identify taxa in four focal groups: spiders, bark lice, beetles, and ants. Spiders, bark lice, and beetles made up ~40% of the 9868 non-ant arthropod individuals sampled; the majority of focal group arthropods were putatively native taxa. Although our results indicate strong negative effects of the Argentine ant on native ants, as is well documented, invaded and uninvaded plots did not differ with respect to the richness, abundance, or species composition of spiders, bark lice, and beetles. One common, introduced species of bark louse was more common in uninvaded plots than in invaded plots, and including this species into our analyses changed the relationship between bark louse richness vs. L. humile abundance from no relationship to a significant negative relationship. This case illustrates how failure to differentiate native and introduced taxa can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effects of ant invasions. Our results caution against unqualified assertions about the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods, and more generally demonstrate that accurate assessments of invasion impacts depend on

  16. Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Holway, David

    2015-10-01

    Invasions give rise to a wide range of ecological effects. Many invasions proceed without noticeable impacts on the resident biota, whereas others shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects, but controversy surrounds the extent of these impacts, especially with regard to how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainty in part results from the widespread use of low-resolution taxonomic data, which can mask the presence of other introduced species and make it difficult to isolate the effects of ant invasions on native species. Here, we use high-resolution taxonomic data to examine the effects of Argentine ant invasions on arthropods on Santa Cruz Island, California. We sampled arthropods in eight pairs of invaded and uninvaded plots and then collaborated with taxonomic experts to identify taxa in four focal groups: spiders, bark lice, beetles, and ants. Spiders, bark lice, and beetles made up ~40% of the 9868 non-ant arthropod individuals sampled; the majority of focal group arthropods were putatively native taxa. Although our results indicate strong negative effects of the Argentine ant on native ants, as is well documented, invaded and uninvaded plots did not differ with respect to the richness, abundance, or species composition of spiders, bark lice, and beetles. One common, introduced species of bark louse was more common in uninvaded plots than in invaded plots, and including this species into our analyses changed the relationship between bark louse richness vs. L. humile abundance from no relationship to a significant negative relationship. This case illustrates how failure to differentiate native and introduced taxa can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effects of ant invasions. Our results caution against unqualified assertions about the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods, and more generally demonstrate that accurate assessments of invasion impacts depend on

  17. Targeted research to improve invasive species management: yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in Samoa.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Auina, Saronna; Stanley, Margaret C

    2014-01-01

    Lack of biological knowledge of invasive species is recognised as a major factor contributing to eradication failure. Management needs to be informed by a site-specific understanding of the invasion system. Here, we describe targeted research designed to inform the potential eradication of the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes on Nu'utele island, Samoa. First, we assessed the ant's impacts on invertebrate biodiversity by comparing invertebrate communities between infested and uninfested sites. Second, we investigated the timing of production of sexuals and seasonal variation of worker abundance and nest density. Third, we investigated whether an association existed between A. gracilipes and carbohydrate sources. Within the infested area there were few other ants larger than A. gracilipes, as well as fewer spiders and crabs, indicating that A. gracilipes is indeed a significant conservation concern. The timing of male reproduction appears to be consistent with places elsewhere in the world, but queen reproduction was outside of the known reproductive period for this species in the region, indicating that the timing of treatment regimes used elsewhere are not appropriate for Samoa. Worker abundance and nest density were among the highest recorded in the world, being greater in May than in October. These abundance and nest density data form baselines for quantifying treatment efficacy and set sampling densities for post-treatment assessments. The number of plants and insects capable of providing a carbohydrate supply to ants were greatest where A. gracilipes was present, but it is not clear if this association is causal. Regardless, indirectly controlling ant abundance by controlling carbohydrate supply appears to be promising avenue for research. The type of targeted, site-specific research such as that described here should be an integral part of any eradication program for invasive species to design knowledge-based treatment protocols and determine

  18. Global invasion history of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Ascunce, Marina S; Yang, Chin-Cheng; Oakey, Jane; Calcaterra, Luis; Wu, Wen-Jer; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Goudet, Jérôme; Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2011-02-25

    The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a significant pest that was inadvertently introduced into the southern United States almost a century ago and more recently into California and other regions of the world. An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecular markers in 2144 fire ant colonies from 75 geographic sites worldwide revealed that at least nine separate introductions of S. invicta have occurred into newly invaded areas and that the main southern U.S. population is probably the source of all but one of these introductions. The sole exception involves a putative serial invasion from the southern United States to California to Taiwan. These results illustrate in stark fashion a severe negative consequence of an increasingly massive and interconnected global trade and travel system.

  19. Distribution of invasive ants and methods for their control in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.; Snook, Kirsten; Euaparadorn, Melody

    2013-01-01

    The first invasive ants were detected in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) more than 80 years ago. Ecological impacts of these ants are largely unknown, but studies in Hawai`i and elsewhere increasingly show that invasive ants can reduce abundance and diversity of native arthropod communities as well as disrupt pollination and food webs. Prior to the present study, knowledge of ant distributions in HAVO has primarily been restricted to road- and trail-side surveys of the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa Strip sections of the park. Due to the risks that ants pose to HAVO resources, understanding their distributions and identifying tools to eradicate or control populations of the most aggressive species is an important objective of park managers. We mapped ant distributions in two of the most intensively managed sections of the park, Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku. We also tested the efficacy of baits to control the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), two of the most aggressive and ecologically destructive species in Hawai`i. Efficacy testing of formicidal bait was designed to provide park managers with options for eradicating small populations or controlling populations that occur at levels beyond which they can be eradicated. Within the Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku sections of HAVO we conducted systematic surveys of ant distributions at 1625 stations covering nearly 200 km of roads, fences, and transects between August 2008 and April 2010. Overall, 15 ant species were collected in the two areas, with 12 being found on Mauna Loa Strip and 11 at Kahuku. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi was most widespread at both sites, ranging in elevation from 920 to 2014 m, and was the only species found above 1530 m. Argentine ants and big-headed ants were also found in both areas, but their distributions did not overlap. Surveys of Argentine ants identified areas of infestation covering 560 ha at Mauna Loa Strip and 585 ha at Kahuku. At both sites

  20. Climatic warming destabilizes forest ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Diamond, Sarah E.; Nichols, Lauren M.; Pelini, Shannon L.; Penick, Clint A.; Barber, Grace W.; Cahan, Sara Helms; Dunn, Robert R.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.

    2016-01-01

    How will ecological communities change in response to climate warming? Direct effects of temperature and indirect cascading effects of species interactions are already altering the structure of local communities, but the dynamics of community change are still poorly understood. We explore the cumulative effects of warming on the dynamics and turnover of forest ant communities that were warmed as part of a 5-year climate manipulation experiment at two sites in eastern North America. At the community level, warming consistently increased occupancy of nests and decreased extinction and nest abandonment. This consistency was largely driven by strong responses of a subset of thermophilic species at each site. As colonies of thermophilic species persisted in nests for longer periods of time under warmer temperatures, turnover was diminished, and species interactions were likely altered. We found that dynamical (Lyapunov) community stability decreased with warming both within and between sites. These results refute null expectations of simple temperature-driven increases in the activity and movement of thermophilic ectotherms. The reduction in stability under warming contrasts with the findings of previous studies that suggest resilience of species interactions to experimental and natural warming. In the face of warmer, no-analog climates, communities of the future may become increasingly fragile and unstable.

  1. Targeted Research to Improve Invasive Species Management: Yellow Crazy Ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in Samoa

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Benjamin D.; Auina, Saronna; Stanley, Margaret C.

    2014-01-01

    Lack of biological knowledge of invasive species is recognised as a major factor contributing to eradication failure. Management needs to be informed by a site-specific understanding of the invasion system. Here, we describe targeted research designed to inform the potential eradication of the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes on Nu’utele island, Samoa. First, we assessed the ant’s impacts on invertebrate biodiversity by comparing invertebrate communities between infested and uninfested sites. Second, we investigated the timing of production of sexuals and seasonal variation of worker abundance and nest density. Third, we investigated whether an association existed between A. gracilipes and carbohydrate sources. Within the infested area there were few other ants larger than A. gracilipes, as well as fewer spiders and crabs, indicating that A. gracilipes is indeed a significant conservation concern. The timing of male reproduction appears to be consistent with places elsewhere in the world, but queen reproduction was outside of the known reproductive period for this species in the region, indicating that the timing of treatment regimes used elsewhere are not appropriate for Samoa. Worker abundance and nest density were among the highest recorded in the world, being greater in May than in October. These abundance and nest density data form baselines for quantifying treatment efficacy and set sampling densities for post-treatment assessments. The number of plants and insects capable of providing a carbohydrate supply to ants were greatest where A. gracilipes was present, but it is not clear if this association is causal. Regardless, indirectly controlling ant abundance by controlling carbohydrate supply appears to be promising avenue for research. The type of targeted, site-specific research such as that described here should be an integral part of any eradication program for invasive species to design knowledge-based treatment protocols and

  2. Homopterans and an invasive red ant, Myrmica rubra (L.), in Maine.

    PubMed

    McPhee, Katherine; Garnas, Jeffrey; Drummond, Frank; Groden, Eleanor

    2012-02-01

    Myrmica rubra (L.), is an invasive ant that is spreading across eastern North America. It is presently found in over 40 communities in Maine and areas in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and several provinces in the Canadian Maritimes and Ontario. In addition to disrupting native ant faunas, invasive ants also have been shown to influence homopteran abundance and species composition. We conducted surveys of Homoptera in infested and noninfested sites and conducted manipulative experiments to quantify the effects of M. rubra on homopteran abundance and composition in the summers of 2003, 2006, and 2007 on Mount Desert Island, ME. In 2003, Homoptera family-level richness was higher in infested sites compared with noninfested sites with two out of three sampling methods. Homopteran abundance in infested compared with noninfested sites depended upon the site. The sites with the highest population of M. rubra were associated with significant differences in Homoptera population abundance. In 2006 and 2007, two out of three host plants sampled had significantly higher abundances of the aphids, Aphis spiraephila Patch and Prociphilus tessellatus Fitch. An ant exclusion field experiment on the native plant, meadowsweet (Spiraea alba Du Roi), resulted in higher abundances of A. spiraephila with M. rubra tending compared with native ant tending. A predator exclusion field experiment was conducted on meadowsweet using adult ladybeetles, Hippodamia convergens Guérin-Méneville, larval green lacewings, Chyrsoperla carnea Stephens, and no predators. Predator impacts on aphid populations were reduced in the presence of M. rubra with C. carnea and moderately reduced with H. convergens.

  3. Disruption of a protective ant-plant mutualism by an invasive ant increases elephant damage to savanna trees.

    PubMed

    Riginos, Corinna; Karande, Megan A; Rubenstein, Daniel I; Palmer, Todd M

    2015-03-01

    Invasive species can indirectly affect ecosystem processes via the disruption of mutualisms. The mutualism between the whistling thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium) and four species of symbiotic ants is an ecologically important one; ants strongly defend trees against elephants, which can otherwise have dramatic impacts on tree cover. In Laikipia, Kenya, the invasive big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) has established itself at numerous locations within the last 10-15 years. In invaded areas on five properties, we found that three species of symbiotic Crematogaster ants were virtually extirpated, whereas Tetraponera penzigi co-occurred with P. megacephala. T. penzigi appears to persist because of its nonaggressive behavior; in a whole-tree translocation experiment, Crematogaster defended host trees against P. megacephala, but were extirpated from trees within hours. In contrast, T. penzigi retreated into domatia and withstood invading ants for >30 days. In the field, the loss of defensive Crematogaster ants in invaded areas led to a five- to sevenfold increase in the number of trees catastrophically damaged by elephants compared to uninvaded areas. In savannas, tree cover drives many ecosystem processes and provides essential forage for many large mammal species; thus, the invasion of big-headed ants may strongly alter the dynamics and diversity of East Africa's whistling thorn savannas by disrupting this system's keystone acaciaant mutualism. PMID:26236862

  4. Testing the directed dispersal hypothesis: are native ant mounds (Formica sp.) favorable microhabitats for an invasive plant?

    PubMed

    Berg-Binder, Moni C; Suarez, Andrew V

    2012-07-01

    Ant-mediated seed dispersal may be a form of directed dispersal if collected seeds are placed in a favorable microhabitat (e.g., in or near an ant nest) that increases plant establishment, growth, and/or reproduction relative to random locations. We investigated whether the native ant community interacts with invasive leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) in a manner consistent with predictions of the directed dispersal hypothesis. Resident ants quickly located and dispersed 60% of experimentally offered E. esula seeds. Additionally, 40% of seeds whose final deposition site was observed were either brought inside or placed on top of an ant nest. Seed removal was 100% when seeds were placed experimentally on foraging trails of mound-building Formica obscuripes, although the deposition site of these seeds is unknown. Natural density and above-ground biomass of E. esula were greater on Formica mound edges compared to random locations. However, seedling recruitment and establishment from experimentally planted E. esula seeds was not greater on mound edges than random locations 3 m from the mound. Soil from Formica mound edges was greater in available nitrogen and available phosphorus relative to random soil locations 3 m from the mound. These results suggest Formica ant mounds are favorable microhabitats for E. esula growth following seedling establishment, a likely consequence of nutrient limitation during plant growth. The results also indicate positive species interactions may play an important role in biological invasions.

  5. Selenium exposure results in reduced reproduction in an invasive ant species and altered competitive behavior for a native ant species.

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL(-1)) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL(-1)) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species.

  6. Selenium exposure results in reduced reproduction in an invasive ant species and altered competitive behavior for a native ant species.

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL(-1)) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL(-1)) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species. PMID:27038576

  7. ANT COMMUNITIES AND LIVESTOCK GRAZING IN THE GREAT BASIN, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objectives of this study were to determine if metrics for ant species assemblages can be used as indicators of rangeland condition, and to determine the influence of vegetation and ground cover variables, factors often influenced by livestock grazing, on ant communities. The ...

  8. Recovery of ground ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities six years after a major environmental disaster.

    PubMed

    Luque, G M; Reyes-López, J; Fernández-Haeger, J

    2007-04-01

    The recovery of ant communities at the Guadiamar River bank (southwest Spain) was studied across 5 yr, after an environmental disaster caused by the spill of toxic sludge over the river caused by a mine accident. Three affected and three control sites were sampled from 2000 to 2004 using pitfall traps. The last year of study, a more exhaustive sampling was conducted at the affected area (eight sampling sites). Additionally, four adjacent study sites not affected by the toxic spill were also studied. Ants showed clear responses to the restoration of the area. Mean ant species richness in spillage affected sites showed a significant increase over the 5 yr. Moreover, multivariate analysis showed distinct changes of ant community composition of the affected area over the years that were not observed in control sites. Six years after the disaster, one half of the species recorded in control sites were also present in the affected area, with only one species exclusive to this area, Cardiocondyla mauritanica Forel (tramp species). However, not only habitat specialist species but also some generalist and conspicuous species within the river basin are not present along the affected area, including species of the genera Camponotus, Messor, Cataglyphis, and Aphaenogaster. This study shows an incipient recovery of ant communities 6 yr after a major environmental disturbance, highlighting the absence of any invasive ant species in the restored area.

  9. Invasion Biology on Your Campus: Investigating the Red Imported Fire Ant in the Southeastern United States.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Forys, Elizabeth A.; Kelly, William B.; Ward, David T.

    2003-01-01

    Describes a laboratory activity on invasion biology to improve students' cognitive skills as well as manual skills. Requires students to develop hypotheses in which a common invasive species will succeed. Focuses on the red imported fire ant in the Southeastern United States, which is a non-native invasive species. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)

  10. Evidence of Niche Shift and Global Invasion Potential of the Tawny Crazy Ant, Nylanderia Fulva

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Analysis of an invasive species’ niche shift between native and introduced ranges, along with potential distribution maps, can provide valuable information about its invasive potential. The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, is a rapidly emerging and economically important invasive species in the so...

  11. Commercial agrochemical applications in vineyards do not influence ant communities.

    PubMed

    Chong, Chee Seng; Hoffmann, Ary A; Thomson, Linda J

    2007-12-01

    Ants have been widely used as bioindicators for various terrestrial monitoring and assessment programs but are seldom considered in evaluation of nontarget pesticide effect. Much chemical assessment has been biased toward laboratory and bioassay testing for control of specific pest ant species. Several field studies that did explore the nontarget impacts of pesticides on ants have reported contradictory findings. To address the impact of chemical applications on ants, we tested the response of epigeal ant assemblages and community structure to three pesticide gradients (cumulative International Organization for Biological and Integrated Control toxicity rating, chlorpyrifos use rate, and sulfur use rate) in 19 vineyards. Ordination analyses using nonmetric multidimensional scaling detected community structures at species and genus levels, but the structures were not explained by any pesticide variables. There was no consistent pattern in species and genus percentage complementarities and ant assemblages along pesticide gradients. In contrast, ant community structure was influenced by the presence of shelterbelts near the sampling area. Reasons for the resilience of ants to pesticides are given and assessment at the colony level instead of workers abundance is suggested. The presence of Linepithema humile (Mayr) is emphasized. PMID:18284765

  12. The introduction history of invasive garden ants in Europe: Integrating genetic, chemical and behavioural approaches

    PubMed Central

    Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Kronauer, Daniel JC; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Pedersen, Jes S; Cremer, Sylvia

    2008-01-01

    Background The invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, is the most recently detected pest ant and the first known invasive ant able to become established and thrive in the temperate regions of Eurasia. In this study, we aim to reconstruct the invasion history of this ant in Europe analysing 14 populations with three complementary approaches: genetic microsatellite analysis, chemical analysis of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and behavioural observations of aggression behaviour. We evaluate the relative informative power of the three methodological approaches and estimate both the number of independent introduction events from a yet unknown native range somewhere in the Black Sea area, and the invasive potential of the existing introduced populations. Results Three clusters of genetically similar populations were detected, and all but one population had a similar chemical profile. Aggression between populations could be predicted from their genetic and chemical distance, and two major clusters of non-aggressive groups of populations were found. However, populations of L. neglectus did not separate into clear supercolonial associations, as is typical for other invasive ants. Conclusion The three methodological approaches gave consistent and complementary results. All joint evidence supports the inference that the 14 introduced populations of L. neglectus in Europe likely arose from only very few independent introductions from the native range, and that new infestations were typically started through introductions from other invasive populations. This indicates that existing introduced populations have a very high invasive potential when the ants are inadvertently spread by human transport. PMID:18302731

  13. USING ANT COMMUNITIES FOR RAPID ASSESSMENT OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM HEALTH

    SciTech Connect

    Wike, L; Doug Martin, D; Michael Paller, M; Eric Nelson, E

    2007-01-12

    Ecosystem health with its near infinite number of variables is difficult to measure, and there are many opinions as to which variables are most important, most easily measured, and most robust, Bioassessment avoids the controversy of choosing which physical and chemical parameters to measure because it uses responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the system in question. A variety of bioassessment methods have been successfully applied to aquatic ecosystems using fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Terrestrial biotic index methods are less developed than those for aquatic systems and we are seeking to address this problem here. This study had as its objective to examine the baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut back to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at four seral stages; clearcut, 5 year, 15 year and mature pine plantation stands. Soil and vegetation data were collected at each site. All ants collected were preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol and identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicates that ants respond strongly to the habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests and that individual genera as well as ant community structure can be used as an indicator of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in the mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor which favored litter dwelling and cool climate specialists.

  14. A novel interference behaviour: invasive wasps remove ants from resources and drop them from a height

    PubMed Central

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J.

    2011-01-01

    This study reports a novel form of interference behaviour between the invasive wasp Vespula vulgaris and the New Zealand native ant Prolasius advenus. By videotaping interactions at bait stations, we found that wasps commonly remove ant competitors from food resources by picking up the workers in their mandibles, flying backward and dropping them unharmed some distance from the food. Both the frequency and the efficiency of the wasp behaviour significantly increased with the abundance of ant competitors. Ant removals were the most common interference events initiated by wasps when ants were numerous, while intraspecific conflicts among wasps were prominent when few ants were present. The ‘ant-dropping’ behaviour emphasizes how asymmetry in body sizes between competitors can lead to a pronounced form of interference, related to asymmetric locomotion modes. PMID:21450726

  15. Disentangling the diversity of arboreal ant communities in tropical forest trees.

    PubMed

    Klimes, Petr; Fibich, Pavel; Idigel, Cliffson; Rimandai, Maling

    2015-01-01

    Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting) in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively) and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests). About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities. PMID:25714831

  16. Disentangling the Diversity of Arboreal Ant Communities in Tropical Forest Trees

    PubMed Central

    Klimes, Petr; Fibich, Pavel; Idigel, Cliffson; Rimandai, Maling

    2015-01-01

    Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting) in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively) and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests). About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities. PMID:25714831

  17. Disentangling the diversity of arboreal ant communities in tropical forest trees.

    PubMed

    Klimes, Petr; Fibich, Pavel; Idigel, Cliffson; Rimandai, Maling

    2015-01-01

    Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting) in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively) and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests). About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities.

  18. Cotton Rats Alter Foraging in Response to an Invasive Ant

    PubMed Central

    Darracq, Andrea K.; Conner, L. Mike; Brown, Joel S.; McCleery, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the effects of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta; hereafter fire ant) on the foraging of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). We used a manipulative experiment, placing resource patches with a known amount of millet seed within areas with reduced (RIFA [–]) or ambient (RIFA [+]) numbers of fire ants. We measured giving up densities (the amount of food left within each patch) within the resource patches for 4 days to quantify the effects of fire ants on cotton rat foraging. We assessed the effects of fire ant treatment (RIFA), Day, and their interaction on cotton rat giving up densities. Giving up densities on RIFA [+] grids were nearly 2.2 times greater across all foraging days and ranged from 1.6 to 2.3 times greater from day 1 to day 4 than the RIFA [–] grids. From day 1 to day 4, mean giving up densities decreased significantly faster for the RIFA [–] than RIFA [+] treatments, 58% and 13%, respectively. Our results demonstrate that cotton rats perceive a risk of injury from fire ants, which is likely caused by interference competition, rather than direct predation. Envenomation from ants likely decrease the foraging efficiency of cotton rats resulting in more time spent foraging. Increased time spent foraging is likely stressful in terms of the opportunity for direct injury and encounters with other predators. These indirect effects may reduce an individual cotton rat’s fitness and translate into lowered population abundances. PMID:27655320

  19. Competition can lead to unexpected patterns in tropical ant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellwood, M. D. Farnon; Blüthgen, Nico; Fayle, Tom M.; Foster, William A.; Menzel, Florian

    2016-08-01

    Ecological communities are structured by competitive, predatory, mutualistic and parasitic interactions combined with chance events. Separating deterministic from stochastic processes is possible, but finding statistical evidence for specific biological interactions is challenging. We attempt to solve this problem for ant communities nesting in epiphytic bird's nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) in Borneo's lowland rainforest. By recording the frequencies with which each and every single ant species occurred together, we were able to test statistically for patterns associated with interspecific competition. We found evidence for competition, but the resulting co-occurrence pattern was the opposite of what we expected. Rather than detecting species segregation-the classical hallmark of competition-we found species aggregation. Moreover, our approach of testing individual pairwise interactions mostly revealed spatially positive rather than negative associations. Significant negative interactions were only detected among large ants, and among species of the subfamily Ponerinae. Remarkably, the results from this study, and from a corroborating analysis of ant communities known to be structured by competition, suggest that competition within the ants leads to species aggregation rather than segregation. We believe this unexpected result is linked with the displacement of species following asymmetric competition. We conclude that analysing co-occurrence frequencies across complete species assemblages, separately for each species, and for each unique pairwise combination of species, represents a subtle yet powerful way of detecting structure and compartmentalisation in ecological communities.

  20. Using Ant Communities For Rapid Assessment Of Terrestrial Ecosystem Health

    SciTech Connect

    Wike, L

    2005-06-01

    Measurement of ecosystem health is a very important but often difficult and sometimes fractious topic for applied ecologists. It is important because it can provide information about effects of various external influences like chemical, nuclear, and physical disturbance, and invasive species. Ecosystem health is also a measure of the rate or trajectory of degradation or recovery of systems that are currently suffering impact or those where restoration or remediation have taken place. Further, ecosystem health is the single best indicator of the quality of long term environmental stewardship because it not only provides a baseline condition, but also the means for future comparison and evaluation. Ecosystem health is difficult to measure because there are a nearly infinite number of variables and uncertainty as to which suites of variables are truly indicative of ecosystem condition. It would be impossible and prohibitively expensive to measure all those variables, or even all the ones that were certain to be valid indicators. Measurement of ecosystem health can also be a fractious topic for applied ecologists because there are a myriad of opinions as to which variables are the most important, most easily measured, most robust, and so forth. What is required is an integrative means of evaluating ecosystem health. All ecosystems are dynamic and undergo change either stochastically, intrinsically, or in response to external influences. The basic assumption about change induced by exogenous antropogenic influences is that it is directional and measurable. Historically measurements of surrogate parameters have been used in an attempt to quantify these changes, for example extensive water chemistry data in aquatic systems. This was the case until the 1980's when the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) (Karr et al. 1986), was developed. This system collects an array of metrics and fish community data within a stream ecosystem and develops a score or rating for the relative

  1. Effects of Invasive European Fire Ants (Myrmica rubra) on Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) Reproduction

    PubMed Central

    DeFisher, Luke E.; Bonter, David N.

    2013-01-01

    Various invasive ant species have negatively affected reproductive success in birds by disrupting nest site selection, incubation patterns, food supply, and by direct predation on nestlings. Impacts can be particularly severe when non-native ants colonize seabird nesting islands where thousands of birds may nest in high densities on the ground or in burrows or crevices. Here we report on the first documented effects of Myrmica rubra, the European fire ant, on the reproduction of birds in its non-native range. We documented herring gulls (Larus argentatus) on Appledore Island, Maine, engaging in more erratic incubation behaviors at nests infested by the ants. Newly-hatched chicks in some nests were swarmed by ants, leading to rapid chick death. Due to high overall rates of chick mortality, survival probabilities did not vary between nests with and without ant activity, however chick growth rates were slower at nests with ants than at ant-free nests. Ant infestation likely leads to longer-term fitness consequences because slower growth rates early in life may ultimately lead to lower post-fledging survival probabilities. PMID:23691168

  2. Macrodinychus mites as parasitoids of invasive ants: an overlooked parasitic association.

    PubMed

    Lachaud, Jean-Paul; Klompen, Hans; Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela

    2016-01-01

    Mites are frequent ant symbionts, yet the exact nature of their interactions with their hosts is poorly known. Generally, myrmecophilous mites show adaptations for dispersal through phoresis, but species that lack such an adaptation may have evolved unusual specialized relationships with their hosts. The immature stages of Macrodinychus multispinosus develop as ectoparasitoids of pupae of the invasive ant Paratrechina longicornis. Feeding stages show regressed locomotor appendages. These mites complete their development on a single host, sucking all of its body content and therefore killing it. Locally high proportions of parasitized host pupae suggest that M. multispinosus could serve as a biological control agent. This is the ninth species of Macrodinychus reported as ant parasite, and the third known as parasitoid of invasive ants, confirming a unique habit in the evolution of mite feeding strategies and suggesting that the entire genus might be parasitic on ants. Several mites' characteristics, such as their protective morphology, possible viviparity, lack of a specialized stage for phoretic dispersal, and low host specificity, combined with both the general low aggressiveness of invasive P. longicornis towards other ants and its possible susceptibility to generalist ectoparasites would account for the host shift in native macrodinychid mites. PMID:27444515

  3. Macrodinychus mites as parasitoids of invasive ants: an overlooked parasitic association

    PubMed Central

    Lachaud, Jean-Paul; Klompen, Hans; Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela

    2016-01-01

    Mites are frequent ant symbionts, yet the exact nature of their interactions with their hosts is poorly known. Generally, myrmecophilous mites show adaptations for dispersal through phoresis, but species that lack such an adaptation may have evolved unusual specialized relationships with their hosts. The immature stages of Macrodinychus multispinosus develop as ectoparasitoids of pupae of the invasive ant Paratrechina longicornis. Feeding stages show regressed locomotor appendages. These mites complete their development on a single host, sucking all of its body content and therefore killing it. Locally high proportions of parasitized host pupae suggest that M. multispinosus could serve as a biological control agent. This is the ninth species of Macrodinychus reported as ant parasite, and the third known as parasitoid of invasive ants, confirming a unique habit in the evolution of mite feeding strategies and suggesting that the entire genus might be parasitic on ants. Several mites’ characteristics, such as their protective morphology, possible viviparity, lack of a specialized stage for phoretic dispersal, and low host specificity, combined with both the general low aggressiveness of invasive P. longicornis towards other ants and its possible susceptibility to generalist ectoparasites would account for the host shift in native macrodinychid mites. PMID:27444515

  4. Are invasive fire ants kept in check by native aerial insectivores?

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron P; Ames, Tayna; Bridge, Eli S

    2016-05-01

    Aerial predator-prey interactions may impact populations of many terrestrial species. Here, we use altitude loggers to study aerial foraging in a native insectivore, the purple martin (Progne subis), in the southern USA. Purple martins fed primarily on mating queens and males of the invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), and doubled their foraging efficiency by doing so. Across the USA, purple martins likely eat billions of fire ant queens each year, potentially impacting the spread of this species. Alternatively, predation on fire ants may help sustain populations of purple martins and other aerial insectivores. PMID:27194285

  5. Are invasive fire ants kept in check by native aerial insectivores?

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron P; Ames, Tayna; Bridge, Eli S

    2016-05-01

    Aerial predator-prey interactions may impact populations of many terrestrial species. Here, we use altitude loggers to study aerial foraging in a native insectivore, the purple martin (Progne subis), in the southern USA. Purple martins fed primarily on mating queens and males of the invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), and doubled their foraging efficiency by doing so. Across the USA, purple martins likely eat billions of fire ant queens each year, potentially impacting the spread of this species. Alternatively, predation on fire ants may help sustain populations of purple martins and other aerial insectivores.

  6. LIVESTOCK GRAZING EFFECTS ON ANT COMMUNITIES IN THE EASTERN MOJAVE DESERT, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effects of livestock grazing on composition and structure of ant communities were examined in the eastern Mojave Desert, USA for the purpose of evaluating ant communities as potential indicators of rangeland condition. Metrics for ant communities, vegetation, and other groun...

  7. Density-dependent benefits in ant-hemipteran mutualism? The case of the ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).

    PubMed

    Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen

    2015-01-01

    Although density-dependent benefits to hemipterans from ant tending have been measured many times, few studies have focused on integrated effects such as interactions between ant tending, natural enemy density, and hemipteran density. In this study, we tested whether the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis is affected by tending by ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), the presence of parasitoids, mealybug density, parasitoid density and interactions among these factors. Our results showed that mealybug colony growth rate and percentage parasitism were significantly affected by ant tending, parasitoid presence, and initial mealybug density separately. However, there were no interactions among the independent factors. There were also no significant interactions between ant tending and parasitoid density on either mealybug colony growth rate or percentage parasitism. Mealybug colony growth rate showed a negative linear relationship with initial mealybug density but a positive linear relationship with the level of ant tending. These results suggest that benefits to mealybugs are density-independent and are affected by ant tending level.

  8. Canopy vegetation influences ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities in headwater stream riparian zones of central Appalachia.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Jonathan T; Adkins, Joshua K; Rieske, Lynne K

    2014-01-01

    In the eastern United States, eastern hemlock Tusga canadensis (L.) Carriere forests are threatened by the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, a pest that is causing widespread hemlock mortality. Eastern hemlock is an essential component of forested communities. Adelgid-induced hemlock mortality is causing a shift in forest composition and structure, altering ecosystem function and thereby influencing the arthropod community. Using pitfall traps at three sites, we monitored ground-dwelling arthropods at 30-d intervals in hemlock-dominated and deciduous-dominated forests in central Appalachia over 2 yr. Here, we focus on the ant community (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) collected in the summer months. Ants form a ubiquitous and integral component of the invertebrate community, functioning at various trophic levels as predators, herbivores, and omnivores, and fulfilling important roles in forest ecosystems. We found no difference in overall ant abundance between hemlock-dominated and deciduous-dominated forests but did detect significant differences in the genera Prenolepis between forest types (P < 0.01) and Aphaenogaster across study locations (P = 0.02). Three genera were unique to deciduous forests; one was unique to hemlock forests. Not surprisingly, total formicids and several genera demonstrated temporal differences in abundance, with greater numbers captured in July than in August. As hemlock woolly adelgid-induced mortality of eastern hemlock becomes more pervasive, changes in forest composition and structure are imminent, accompanied by shifts in hemlock associates. PMID:25528753

  9. Canopy vegetation influences ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities in headwater stream riparian zones of central Appalachia.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Jonathan T; Adkins, Joshua K; Rieske, Lynne K

    2014-01-01

    In the eastern United States, eastern hemlock Tusga canadensis (L.) Carriere forests are threatened by the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, a pest that is causing widespread hemlock mortality. Eastern hemlock is an essential component of forested communities. Adelgid-induced hemlock mortality is causing a shift in forest composition and structure, altering ecosystem function and thereby influencing the arthropod community. Using pitfall traps at three sites, we monitored ground-dwelling arthropods at 30-d intervals in hemlock-dominated and deciduous-dominated forests in central Appalachia over 2 yr. Here, we focus on the ant community (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) collected in the summer months. Ants form a ubiquitous and integral component of the invertebrate community, functioning at various trophic levels as predators, herbivores, and omnivores, and fulfilling important roles in forest ecosystems. We found no difference in overall ant abundance between hemlock-dominated and deciduous-dominated forests but did detect significant differences in the genera Prenolepis between forest types (P < 0.01) and Aphaenogaster across study locations (P = 0.02). Three genera were unique to deciduous forests; one was unique to hemlock forests. Not surprisingly, total formicids and several genera demonstrated temporal differences in abundance, with greater numbers captured in July than in August. As hemlock woolly adelgid-induced mortality of eastern hemlock becomes more pervasive, changes in forest composition and structure are imminent, accompanied by shifts in hemlock associates.

  10. Global invasion history of the tropical fire ant: a stowaway on the first global trade routes.

    PubMed

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Axen, Heather J; Suarez, Andrew V; Helms Cahan, Sara; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are largely thought to be contemporary, having recently increased sharply in the wake of globalization. However, human commerce had already become global by the mid-16th century when the Spanish connected the New World with Europe and Asia via their Manila galleon and West Indies trade routes. We use genetic data to trace the global invasion of one of the world's most widespread and invasive pest ants, the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata. Our results reveal a pattern of introduction of Old World populations that is highly consistent with historical trading routes suggesting that Spanish trade introduced the tropical fire ant to Asia in the 16th century. We identify southwestern Mexico as the most likely source for the invasive populations, which is consistent with the use of Acapulco as the major Spanish port on the Pacific Ocean. From there, the Spanish galleons brought silver to Manila, which served as a hub for trade with China. The genetic data document a corresponding spread of S. geminata from Mexico via Manila to Taiwan and from there, throughout the Old World. Our descriptions of the worldwide spread of S. geminata represent a rare documented case of a biological invasion of a highly invasive and globally distributed pest species due to the earliest stages of global commerce. PMID:25496038

  11. Global invasion history of the tropical fire ant: a stowaway on the first global trade routes.

    PubMed

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Axen, Heather J; Suarez, Andrew V; Helms Cahan, Sara; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are largely thought to be contemporary, having recently increased sharply in the wake of globalization. However, human commerce had already become global by the mid-16th century when the Spanish connected the New World with Europe and Asia via their Manila galleon and West Indies trade routes. We use genetic data to trace the global invasion of one of the world's most widespread and invasive pest ants, the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata. Our results reveal a pattern of introduction of Old World populations that is highly consistent with historical trading routes suggesting that Spanish trade introduced the tropical fire ant to Asia in the 16th century. We identify southwestern Mexico as the most likely source for the invasive populations, which is consistent with the use of Acapulco as the major Spanish port on the Pacific Ocean. From there, the Spanish galleons brought silver to Manila, which served as a hub for trade with China. The genetic data document a corresponding spread of S. geminata from Mexico via Manila to Taiwan and from there, throughout the Old World. Our descriptions of the worldwide spread of S. geminata represent a rare documented case of a biological invasion of a highly invasive and globally distributed pest species due to the earliest stages of global commerce.

  12. Intercontinental differences in resource use reveal the importance of mutualisms in fire ant invasions.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; LeBrun, Edward G; Eubanks, Micky D

    2011-12-20

    Mutualisms play key roles in the functioning of ecosystems. However, reciprocally beneficial interactions that involve introduced species also can enhance invasion success and in doing so compromise ecosystem integrity. For example, the growth and competitive ability of introduced plant species can increase when fungal or microbial associates provide limiting nutrients. Mutualisms also may aid animal invasions, but how such systems may promote invasion success has received relatively little attention. Here we examine how access to food-for-protection mutualisms involving the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) aids the success of this prominent invader. Intense interspecific competition in its native Argentina constrained the ability of S. invicta to benefit from honeydew-producing Hemiptera (and other accessible sources of carbohydrates), whereas S. invicta dominated these resources in its introduced range in the United States. Consistent with this strong pattern, nitrogen isotopic data revealed that fire ants from populations in the United States occupy a lower trophic position than fire ants from Argentina. Laboratory and field experiments demonstrated that honeydew elevated colony growth, a crucial determinant of competitive performance, even when insect prey were not limiting. Carbohydrates, obtained largely through mutualistic partnerships with other organisms, thus represent critical resources that may aid the success of this widespread invasive species. These results illustrate the potential for mutualistic interactions to play a fundamental role in the establishment and spread of animal invasions. PMID:22143788

  13. Intercontinental differences in resource use reveal the importance of mutualisms in fire ant invasions.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; LeBrun, Edward G; Eubanks, Micky D

    2011-12-20

    Mutualisms play key roles in the functioning of ecosystems. However, reciprocally beneficial interactions that involve introduced species also can enhance invasion success and in doing so compromise ecosystem integrity. For example, the growth and competitive ability of introduced plant species can increase when fungal or microbial associates provide limiting nutrients. Mutualisms also may aid animal invasions, but how such systems may promote invasion success has received relatively little attention. Here we examine how access to food-for-protection mutualisms involving the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) aids the success of this prominent invader. Intense interspecific competition in its native Argentina constrained the ability of S. invicta to benefit from honeydew-producing Hemiptera (and other accessible sources of carbohydrates), whereas S. invicta dominated these resources in its introduced range in the United States. Consistent with this strong pattern, nitrogen isotopic data revealed that fire ants from populations in the United States occupy a lower trophic position than fire ants from Argentina. Laboratory and field experiments demonstrated that honeydew elevated colony growth, a crucial determinant of competitive performance, even when insect prey were not limiting. Carbohydrates, obtained largely through mutualistic partnerships with other organisms, thus represent critical resources that may aid the success of this widespread invasive species. These results illustrate the potential for mutualistic interactions to play a fundamental role in the establishment and spread of animal invasions.

  14. Predicting future coexistence in a North American ant community

    PubMed Central

    Bewick, Sharon; Stuble, Katharine L; Lessard, Jean-Phillipe; Dunn, Robert R; Adler, Frederick R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2014-01-01

    Global climate change will remodel ecological communities worldwide. However, as a consequence of biotic interactions, communities may respond to climate change in idiosyncratic ways. This makes predictive models that incorporate biotic interactions necessary. We show how such models can be constructed based on empirical studies in combination with predictions or assumptions regarding the abiotic consequences of climate change. Specifically, we consider a well-studied ant community in North America. First, we use historical data to parameterize a basic model for species coexistence. Using this model, we determine the importance of various factors, including thermal niches, food discovery rates, and food removal rates, to historical species coexistence. We then extend the model to predict how the community will restructure in response to several climate-related changes, such as increased temperature, shifts in species phenology, and altered resource availability. Interestingly, our mechanistic model suggests that increased temperature and shifts in species phenology can have contrasting effects. Nevertheless, for almost all scenarios considered, we find that the most subordinate ant species suffers most as a result of climate change. More generally, our analysis shows that community composition can respond to climate warming in nonintuitive ways. For example, in the context of a community, it is not necessarily the most heat-sensitive species that are most at risk. Our results demonstrate how models that account for niche partitioning and interspecific trade-offs among species can be used to predict the likely idiosyncratic responses of local communities to climate change. PMID:24963378

  15. Using spatially explicit surveillance models to provide confidence in the eradication of an invasive ant

    PubMed Central

    Ward, Darren F.; Anderson, Dean P.; Barron, Mandy C.

    2016-01-01

    Effective detection plays an important role in the surveillance and management of invasive species. Invasive ants are very difficult to eradicate and are prone to imperfect detection because of their small size and cryptic nature. Here we demonstrate the use of spatially explicit surveillance models to estimate the probability that Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) have been eradicated from an offshore island site, given their absence across four surveys and three surveillance methods, conducted since ant control was applied. The probability of eradication increased sharply as each survey was conducted. Using all surveys and surveillance methods combined, the overall median probability of eradication of Argentine ants was 0.96. There was a high level of confidence in this result, with a high Credible Interval Value of 0.87. Our results demonstrate the value of spatially explicit surveillance models for the likelihood of eradication of Argentine ants. We argue that such models are vital to give confidence in eradication programs, especially from highly valued conservation areas such as offshore islands. PMID:27721491

  16. The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Dong-Dong; Michaud, J.P.; Li, Pan; Zhou, Zhong-Shi; Xu, Zai-Fu

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic ants can protect their partners from natural enemies in nature. Aenasius bambawalei is an important parasitoid of the the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. We hypothesized that mutualism between native ants and mealybugs would favor survival of mealybugs. To test this, we examined effects of tending by the native mutualistic ant Tapinoma melanocephalum on growth of P. solenopsis colonies on Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in a field setting. Ant workers with access to honeydew of mealybugs lived much longer than those provisioned only with water in the laboratory, and number of ant workers foraging increased significantly with growth of mealybug colonies in the field. In later observations, there were significant differences in densities of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded treatments. Survival rate of mealybugs experiencing parasitoid attack was significantly higher on ant-tended plants than on ant-excluded plants. When the parasitoid was excluded, there was no difference in survival rate of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded plants. In most cases, ants directly attacked the parasitoid, causing the parasitoid to take evasive action. We conclude that native ants such as T. melanocephalum have the potential to facilitate invasion and spread of P. solenopsis in China by providing them with protection from parasitoids. PMID:26503138

  17. The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Feng, Dong-Dong; Michaud, J P; Li, Pan; Zhou, Zhong-Shi; Xu, Zai-Fu

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic ants can protect their partners from natural enemies in nature. Aenasius bambawalei is an important parasitoid of the the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. We hypothesized that mutualism between native ants and mealybugs would favor survival of mealybugs. To test this, we examined effects of tending by the native mutualistic ant Tapinoma melanocephalum on growth of P. solenopsis colonies on Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in a field setting. Ant workers with access to honeydew of mealybugs lived much longer than those provisioned only with water in the laboratory, and number of ant workers foraging increased significantly with growth of mealybug colonies in the field. In later observations, there were significant differences in densities of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded treatments. Survival rate of mealybugs experiencing parasitoid attack was significantly higher on ant-tended plants than on ant-excluded plants. When the parasitoid was excluded, there was no difference in survival rate of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded plants. In most cases, ants directly attacked the parasitoid, causing the parasitoid to take evasive action. We conclude that native ants such as T. melanocephalum have the potential to facilitate invasion and spread of P. solenopsis in China by providing them with protection from parasitoids. PMID:26503138

  18. Inter- and intraspecific aggression in the invasive longlegged ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Chong, Kim-Fung; Lee, Chow-Yang

    2010-10-01

    The longlegged ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes (Fr. Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is a highly invasive species that can aggressively displace other ant species. We conducted laboratory assays to examine interspecies aggression of A. gracilipes versus 15 sympatric ant species found in the urban environment and disturbed habitat in Malaysia: Monomorium pharaonis (L.), Monomorium floricola (Jerdon), Monomorium orientale Mayr, Monomorium destructor (Jerdon), Pheidole parva Mayr, Crematogaster sp., Solenopsis geminata (F.), Tapinoma indicum (Forel), Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.), Technomyrmnex butteli Forel, Dolichoderus thoracicus (Smith), Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), Oecophylla smaragdina (F), Camponotus sp., and Tetraponera rufonigra (Jerdon). A. gracilipes showed aggressive behavior toward all opponent species, except the smallest M. orientale. Opponent species size (body size, head width, and mandible width) was significantly correlated with A. gracilipes aggression level and mortality rate. We also found a significant positive relationship between A. gracilipes aggression level and the mortality of the opponent species. The results suggest that invasive populations of A. gracilipes would have the greatest impact on larger ant species. In addition, we examined the intraspecific aggression of A. gracilipes. We found that A. gracilipes from different localities in Malaysia showed intraspecific aggression toward one another. This finding differs from the results of studies conducted in Christmas Island earlier. Differences in the genetic variability among populations may explain these differing results.

  19. Metatranscriptomics and pyrosequencing facilitate discovery of potential viral natural enemies of the invasive Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia pubens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Background: Nylanderia pubens (Forel) is an invasive ant species that in recent years has developed into a serious nuisance problem in the Caribbean and United States. A rapidly expanding range, explosive localized population growth, and control difficulties have elevated this ant to pest status. ...

  20. Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis.

    PubMed

    Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks.

  1. Plant community associations of two invasive thistles

    PubMed Central

    Rauschert, Emily S.J.; Shea, Katriona; Goslee, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    In order to combat the growing problems associated with biological invasions, many researchers have focused on identifying which communities are most vulnerable to invasion by exotic species. However, once established, invasive species can significantly change the composition of the communities that they invade. The first step to disentangling the direction of causality is to discern whether a relationship with other vegetation exists at all. Carduus nutans and C. acanthoides are similar invasive thistles, which have caused substantial economic damage worldwide. We assessed the associations between the thistles and the standing flora in four sites in central Pennsylvania in which they co-occur. After sampling nearly 2000 plots of 1 m2, we used partial Mantel tests to assess the differences in vegetation between thistle and non-thistle plots after accounting for location, and non-metric multidimensional scaling to visualize differences among plots and sites. We found significant differences in community composition in plots with and without Carduus thistles. The non-native species Sisymbrium officinale and Coronilla varia were consistently associated with the presence of Carduus thistles. Several species were associated with areas that were free of Carduus thistles, including an important non-native pasture species (Trifolium repens). We found no evidence for differences in composition between plots with C. nutans versus C. acanthoides, suggesting that they have similar associations with the vegetation community. We conclude that even at the within-field scale, areas invaded by Carduus thistles have different vegetation associations than uninvaded areas, allowing us to target future research about the role of vegetation structure in resisting and responding to invasion. PMID:26038126

  2. Plant community associations of two invasive thistles.

    PubMed

    Rauschert, Emily S J; Shea, Katriona; Goslee, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    In order to combat the growing problems associated with biological invasions, many researchers have focused on identifying which communities are most vulnerable to invasion by exotic species. However, once established, invasive species can significantly change the composition of the communities that they invade. The first step to disentangling the direction of causality is to discern whether a relationship with other vegetation exists at all. Carduus nutans and C. acanthoides are similar invasive thistles, which have caused substantial economic damage worldwide. We assessed the associations between the thistles and the standing flora in four sites in central Pennsylvania in which they co-occur. After sampling nearly 2000 plots of 1 m(2), we used partial Mantel tests to assess the differences in vegetation between thistle and non-thistle plots after accounting for location, and non-metric multidimensional scaling to visualize differences among plots and sites. We found significant differences in community composition in plots with and without Carduus thistles. The non-native species Sisymbrium officinale and Coronilla varia were consistently associated with the presence of Carduus thistles. Several species were associated with areas that were free of Carduus thistles, including an important non-native pasture species (Trifolium repens). We found no evidence for differences in composition between plots with C. nutans versus C. acanthoides, suggesting that they have similar associations with the vegetation community. We conclude that even at the within-field scale, areas invaded by Carduus thistles have different vegetation associations than uninvaded areas, allowing us to target future research about the role of vegetation structure in resisting and responding to invasion.

  3. Worldwide invasion by the little fire ant: routes of introduction and eco-evolutionary pathways

    PubMed Central

    Foucaud, Julien; Orivel, Jérôme; Loiseau, Anne; Delabie, Jacques H C; Jourdan, Hervé; Konghouleux, Djoël; Vonshak, Merav; Tindo, Maurice; Mercier, Jean-Luc; Fresneau, Dominique; Mikissa, Jean-Bruno; McGlynn, Terry; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Oettler, Jan; Estoup, Arnaud

    2010-01-01

    Biological invasions are generally thought to occur after human aided migration to a new range. However, human activities prior to migration may also play a role. We studied here the evolutionary genetics of introduced populations of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata at a worldwide scale. Using microsatellite markers, we reconstructed the main routes of introduction of the species. We found three main routes of introduction, each of them strongly associated to human history and trading routes. We also demonstrate the overwhelming occurrence of male and female clonality in introduced populations of W. auropunctata, and suggest that this particular reproduction system is under selection in human-modified habitats. Together with previous researches focused on native populations, our results suggest that invasive clonal populations may have evolved within human modified habitats in the native range, and spread further from there. The evolutionarily most parsimonious scenario for the emergence of invasive populations of the little fire ant might thus be a two-step process. The W. auropunctata case illustrates the central role of humans in biological change, not only due to changes in migration patterns, but also in selective pressures over species. PMID:25567931

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

    PubMed Central

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2003-01-01

    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. Abbreviation: ANF Apalachicola National Forest PMID:15841237

  5. Changes in monoterpene emission rates of Quercus ilex infested by aphids tended by native or invasive Lasius ant species.

    PubMed

    Paris, Carolina I; Llusia, Joan; Peñuelas, Josep

    2010-07-01

    The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) depends on temperature and light. Other factors such as insect herbivory also may modify VOC emission. In particular, aphid feeding promotes the release of new compounds and changes the composition of plant volatile blends. Given that some aphids are tended by ants, we investigated whether ants change the emission of VOCs indirectly through attendance on aphids. The effect of Lachnus roboris aphids and two different tending ant species on terpene emission rates of 4-year-old holm oak (Quercus ilex) saplings was investigated during a field experiment. There were five treatments: saplings alone (T1), saplings infested with L. roboris aphids (T2), saplings infested with aphids tended by the local ant Lasius grandis (T3), those tended by small colonies of the invasive ant Lasius neglectus (T4), and those tended by large colonies of the same invasive ant species (T5). The infestation by L. roboris elicited the emission of Delta(3)-carene and increased the emission of myrcene and gamma-terpinene. Terpene emissions were modified depending on the tending ant species. Attendance by the local ant L. grandis increased alpha and beta-pinene and sabinene. Attendance by the invasive ant L. neglectus only decreased significantly the emission of myrcene, one of the major compounds of the Q. ilex blend. Aphid abundance decreased with time for all treatments, but there was no difference in aphid abundance among treatments. Total terpene emission rates were not correlated with aphid abundance. These results highlight that aphids and tending ants may change terpene emission rates, depending on the ant species.

  6. Changes in monoterpene emission rates of Quercus ilex infested by aphids tended by native or invasive Lasius ant species.

    PubMed

    Paris, Carolina I; Llusia, Joan; Peñuelas, Josep

    2010-07-01

    The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) depends on temperature and light. Other factors such as insect herbivory also may modify VOC emission. In particular, aphid feeding promotes the release of new compounds and changes the composition of plant volatile blends. Given that some aphids are tended by ants, we investigated whether ants change the emission of VOCs indirectly through attendance on aphids. The effect of Lachnus roboris aphids and two different tending ant species on terpene emission rates of 4-year-old holm oak (Quercus ilex) saplings was investigated during a field experiment. There were five treatments: saplings alone (T1), saplings infested with L. roboris aphids (T2), saplings infested with aphids tended by the local ant Lasius grandis (T3), those tended by small colonies of the invasive ant Lasius neglectus (T4), and those tended by large colonies of the same invasive ant species (T5). The infestation by L. roboris elicited the emission of Delta(3)-carene and increased the emission of myrcene and gamma-terpinene. Terpene emissions were modified depending on the tending ant species. Attendance by the local ant L. grandis increased alpha and beta-pinene and sabinene. Attendance by the invasive ant L. neglectus only decreased significantly the emission of myrcene, one of the major compounds of the Q. ilex blend. Aphid abundance decreased with time for all treatments, but there was no difference in aphid abundance among treatments. Total terpene emission rates were not correlated with aphid abundance. These results highlight that aphids and tending ants may change terpene emission rates, depending on the ant species. PMID:20549328

  7. Loss of microbial (pathogen) infections associated with recent invasions of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Loss of natural enemies during colonization is a prominent hypothesis explaining enhanced performance of invasive species in introduced areas. Numerous studies have tested this enemy release hypothesis in a wide range of taxa but few studies have focused on invasive ants. We conducted extensive surv...

  8. Density-Dependent Benefits in Ant-Hemipteran Mutualism? The Case of the Ghost Ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the Invasive Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen

    2015-01-01

    Although density-dependent benefits to hemipterans from ant tending have been measured many times, few studies have focused on integrated effects such as interactions between ant tending, natural enemy density, and hemipteran density. In this study, we tested whether the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis is affected by tending by ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), the presence of parasitoids, mealybug density, parasitoid density and interactions among these factors. Our results showed that mealybug colony growth rate and percentage parasitism were significantly affected by ant tending, parasitoid presence, and initial mealybug density separately. However, there were no interactions among the independent factors. There were also no significant interactions between ant tending and parasitoid density on either mealybug colony growth rate or percentage parasitism. Mealybug colony growth rate showed a negative linear relationship with initial mealybug density but a positive linear relationship with the level of ant tending. These results suggest that benefits to mealybugs are density-independent and are affected by ant tending level. PMID:25886510

  9. Genetic structure, behaviour and invasion history of the Argentine ant supercolony in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Suhr, Elissa L; O'Dowd, Dennis J; McKechnie, Stephen W; Mackay, Duncan A

    2011-01-01

    Biological invasions have significant ecological, evolutionary and economic consequences. Ants are exemplary invaders and their invasion success is frequently attributed to a shift in social structure between native and introduced populations. Here, we use a multidisciplinary approach to determine the social structure, origin and expansion of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, in Australia by linking behavioural and genetic studies with indicators of dispersal pathways and propagule pressure. Behavioural assays revealed a complete absence of aggression within and between three cities – Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth – spanning 2700 km across Australia. Microsatellite analyses showed intracity genetic homogeneity and limited but significant intercity genetic differentiation. Exceptions were two Perth nests that likely represent independent translocations from Adelaide. These patterns suggest efficient local gene flow with more limited jump dispersal via transport corridors between cities. Microsatellite analyses of L. humile from potential source regions, combined with data from port interceptions, trade pathways and the timeline of spread within Australia, implicate the main European supercolony as the source of L. humile in Melbourne. Such an introduction probably then redistributed across Australia and spread to New Zealand to form an expansive Australasian supercolony. PMID:25567996

  10. A New (Old), Invasive Ant in the Hardwood Forests of Eastern North America and Its Potentially Widespread Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Guénard, Benoit; Dunn, Robert R.

    2010-01-01

    Biological invasions represent a serious threat for the conservation of biodiversity in many ecosystems. While many social insect species and in particular ant species have been introduced outside their native ranges, few species have been successful at invading temperate forests. In this study, we document for the first time the relationship between the abundance of the introduced ant, Pachycondyla chinensis, in mature forests of North Carolina and the composition, abundance and diversity of native ant species using both a matched pair approach and generalized linear models. Where present, P. chinensis was more abundant than all native species combined. The diversity and abundance of native ants in general and many individual species were negatively associated with the presence and abundance of P. chinensis. These patterns held regardless of our statistical approach and across spatial scales. Interestingly, while the majority of ant species was strongly and negatively correlated with the abundance and presence of P. chinensis, a small subset of ant species larger than P. chinensis was either as abundant or even more abundant in invaded than in uninvaded sites. The large geographic range of this ant species combined with its apparent impact on native species make it likely to have cascading consequences on eastern forests in years to come, effects mediated by the specifics of its life history which is very different from those of other invasive ants. The apparent ecological impacts of P. chinensis are in addition to public health concerns associated with this species due to its sometimes, deadly sting. PMID:20657769

  11. Ant colony clustering with fitness perception and pheromone diffusion for community detection in complex networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ji, Junzhong; Song, Xiangjing; Liu, Chunnian; Zhang, Xiuzhen

    2013-08-01

    Community structure detection in complex networks has been intensively investigated in recent years. In this paper, we propose an adaptive approach based on ant colony clustering to discover communities in a complex network. The focus of the method is the clustering process of an ant colony in a virtual grid, where each ant represents a node in the complex network. During the ant colony search, the method uses a new fitness function to percept local environment and employs a pheromone diffusion model as a global information feedback mechanism to realize information exchange among ants. A significant advantage of our method is that the locations in the grid environment and the connections of the complex network structure are simultaneously taken into account in ants moving. Experimental results on computer-generated and real-world networks show the capability of our method to successfully detect community structures.

  12. Bacterial community composition and diversity in an ancestral ant fungus symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Kellner, Katrin; Ishak, Heather D; Linksvayer, Timothy A; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2015-07-01

    Fungus-farming ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini) exhibit some of the most complex microbial symbioses because both macroscopic partners (ants and fungus) are associated with a rich community of microorganisms. The ant and fungal microbiomes are thought to serve important beneficial nutritional and defensive roles in these symbioses. While most recent research has investigated the bacterial communities in the higher attines (e.g. the leaf-cutter ant genera Atta and Acromyrmex), which are often associated with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria, very little is known about the microbial communities in basal lineages, labeled as 'lower attines', which retain the ancestral traits of smaller and more simple societies. In this study, we used 16S amplicon pyrosequencing to characterize bacterial communities of the lower attine ant Mycocepurus smithii among seven sampling sites in central Panama. We discovered that ant and fungus garden-associated microbiota were distinct from surrounding soil, but unlike the situation in the derived fungus-gardening ants, which show distinct ant and fungal microbiomes, microbial community structure of the ants and their fungi were similar. Another surprising finding was that the abundance of actinomycete bacteria was low and instead, these symbioses were characterized by an abundance of Lactobacillus and Pantoea bacteria. Furthermore, our data indicate that Lactobacillus strains are acquired from the environment rather than acquired vertically. PMID:26113689

  13. Metatranscriptomics and Pyrosequencing Facilitate Discovery of Potential Viral Natural Enemies of the Invasive Caribbean Crazy Ant, Nylanderia pubens

    PubMed Central

    Valles, Steven M.; Oi, David H.; Yu, Fahong; Tan, Xin-Xing; Buss, Eileen A.

    2012-01-01

    Background Nylanderia pubens (Forel) is an invasive ant species that in recent years has developed into a serious nuisance problem in the Caribbean and United States. A rapidly expanding range, explosive localized population growth, and control difficulties have elevated this ant to pest status. Professional entomologists and the pest control industry in the United States are urgently trying to understand its biology and develop effective control methods. Currently, no known biological-based control agents are available for use in controlling N. pubens. Methodology and Principal Findings Metagenomics and pyrosequencing techniques were employed to examine the transcriptome of field-collected N. pubens colonies in an effort to identify virus infections with potential to serve as control agents against this pest ant. Pyrosequencing (454-platform) of a non-normalized N. pubens expression library generated 1,306,177 raw sequence reads comprising 450 Mbp. Assembly resulted in generation of 59,017 non-redundant sequences, including 27,348 contigs and 31,669 singlets. BLAST analysis of these non-redundant sequences identified 51 of potential viral origin. Additional analyses winnowed this list of potential viruses to three that appear to replicate in N. pubens. Conclusions Pyrosequencing the transcriptome of field-collected samples of N. pubens has identified at least three sequences that are likely of viral origin and, in which, N. pubens serves as host. In addition, the N. pubens transcriptome provides a genetic resource for the scientific community which is especially important at this early stage of developing a knowledgebase for this new pest. PMID:22384082

  14. An ant colony based algorithm for overlapping community detection in complex networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Xu; Liu, Yanheng; Zhang, Jindong; Liu, Tuming; Zhang, Di

    2015-06-01

    Community detection is of great importance to understand the structures and functions of networks. Overlap is a significant feature of networks and overlapping community detection has attracted an increasing attention. Many algorithms have been presented to detect overlapping communities. In this paper, we present an ant colony based overlapping community detection algorithm which mainly includes ants' location initialization, ants' movement and post processing phases. An ants' location initialization strategy is designed to identify initial location of ants and initialize label list stored in each node. During the ants' movement phase, the entire ants move according to the transition probability matrix, and a new heuristic information computation approach is redefined to measure similarity between two nodes. Every node keeps a label list through the cooperation made by ants until a termination criterion is reached. A post processing phase is executed on the label list to get final overlapping community structure naturally. We illustrate the capability of our algorithm by making experiments on both synthetic networks and real world networks. The results demonstrate that our algorithm will have better performance in finding overlapping communities and overlapping nodes in synthetic datasets and real world datasets comparing with state-of-the-art algorithms.

  15. Intercontinental chemical variation in the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera Formicidae): a key to the invasive success of a tramp species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Errard, Christine; Delabie, Jacques; Jourdan, Hervé; Hefetz, Abraham

    2005-07-01

    Unicoloniality emerges as a feature that characterizes successful invasive species. Its underlying mechanism is reduced intraspecific aggression while keeping interspecific competitiveness. To that effect, we present here a comparative behavioural and chemical study of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata in parts of its native and introduced ranges. We tested the hypothesis that introduced populations (New Caledonia archipelago) have reduced intraspecific aggression relative to native populations (e.g., Ilhéus area, Brazil) and that this correlates with reduced variability in cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). As predicted, there was high intraspecific aggression in the Brazilian populations, but no intraspecific aggression among the New Caledonian populations. However, New Caledonian worker W. auropunctata remained highly aggressive towards ants of other invasive species. The chemical data corresponded with the behaviour. While CHCs of ants from the regions of Brazil diverged, the profiles of ants from various localities in New Caledonia showed high uniformity. We suggest that in New Caledonia W. auropunctata appears to behave as a single supercolony, whereas in its native range it acts as a multicolonial species. The uniformity of recognition cues in the New Caledonia ants may reflect a process whereby recognition alleles became fixed in the population, but may also be the consequence of a single introduction event and subsequent aggressive invasion of the ecosystem. Chemical uniformity coupled with low intraspecific but high interspecific aggression, lend credence to the latter hypothesis.

  16. Ant community structure during forest succession in a subtropical forest in South-East China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Staab, Michael; Schuldt, Andreas; Assmann, Thorsten; Bruelheide, Helge; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-11-01

    Understanding how communities respond to environmental gradients is critical to predict responses of species to changing habitat conditions such as in regenerating secondary habitats after human land use. In this study, ground-living ants were sampled with pitfall traps in 27 plots in a heterogeneous and diverse subtropical forest to test if and how a broad set of environmental variables including elevation, successional age, and tree species richness influence ant diversity and community composition. In total, 13,441 ant individuals belonging to 71 species were found. Ant abundance was unrelated to all environmental variables. Rarefied ant species richness was negatively related to elevation, and Shannon diversity decreased with shrub cover. There was considerable variation in ant species amongst plots, associated with elevation, successional age, and variables related to succession such as shrub cover. It is shown that younger secondary forests may support a species-rich and diverse community of ants in subtropical forests even though the species composition between younger and older forests is markedly different. These findings confirm the conservation value of secondary subtropical forests, which is critical because subtropical forests have been heavily exploited by human activities globally. However, the findings also confirm that old-growth forest should have priority in conservation as it supports a distinct ant community. Our study identifies a set of ant species which are associated with successional age and may thus potentially assist local conservation planning.

  17. Comparison of Ant Community Diversity and Functional Group Composition Associated to Land Use Change in a Seasonally Dry Oak Forest.

    PubMed

    Cuautle, M; Vergara, C H; Badano, E I

    2016-04-01

    Ants have been used to assess land use conversion, because they reflect environmental change, and their response to these changes have been useful in the identification of bioindicators. We evaluated ant diversity and composition associated to different land use change in a temperate forest (above 2000 m asl) in Mexico. The study was carried out in "Flor del Bosque" Park a vegetation mosaic of native Oak Forests and introduced Eucalyptus and grasslands. Species richness, dominance and diversity rarefaction curves, based on ant morphospecies and functional groups, were constructed and compared among the three vegetation types, for the rainy and the dry seasons of 2008-2009. Jaccard and Sorensen incidence-based indices were calculated to obtain similarity values among all the habitats. The Oak Forest was a rich dominant community, both in species and functional groups; the Eucalyptus plantation was diverse with low dominance. The most seasonality habitat was the grassland, with low species and high functional group diversity during the dry seasons, but the reverse pattern during the wet season. The Oak Forest was more similar to the Eucalyptus plantation than to the grassland, particularly during the dry season. Oak Forests are dominated by Cold Climate Specialists, specifically Prenolepis imparis (Say). The Eucalyptus and the grassland are characterized by generalized Myrmicinae, as Pheidole spp. and Monomorium ebenium (Forel). The conservation of the native Oak Forest is primordial for the maintenance of Cold Climate Specialist ant communities. The microclimatic conditions in this forest, probably, prevented the invasion by opportunistic species. PMID:26696090

  18. Comparison of Ant Community Diversity and Functional Group Composition Associated to Land Use Change in a Seasonally Dry Oak Forest.

    PubMed

    Cuautle, M; Vergara, C H; Badano, E I

    2016-04-01

    Ants have been used to assess land use conversion, because they reflect environmental change, and their response to these changes have been useful in the identification of bioindicators. We evaluated ant diversity and composition associated to different land use change in a temperate forest (above 2000 m asl) in Mexico. The study was carried out in "Flor del Bosque" Park a vegetation mosaic of native Oak Forests and introduced Eucalyptus and grasslands. Species richness, dominance and diversity rarefaction curves, based on ant morphospecies and functional groups, were constructed and compared among the three vegetation types, for the rainy and the dry seasons of 2008-2009. Jaccard and Sorensen incidence-based indices were calculated to obtain similarity values among all the habitats. The Oak Forest was a rich dominant community, both in species and functional groups; the Eucalyptus plantation was diverse with low dominance. The most seasonality habitat was the grassland, with low species and high functional group diversity during the dry seasons, but the reverse pattern during the wet season. The Oak Forest was more similar to the Eucalyptus plantation than to the grassland, particularly during the dry season. Oak Forests are dominated by Cold Climate Specialists, specifically Prenolepis imparis (Say). The Eucalyptus and the grassland are characterized by generalized Myrmicinae, as Pheidole spp. and Monomorium ebenium (Forel). The conservation of the native Oak Forest is primordial for the maintenance of Cold Climate Specialist ant communities. The microclimatic conditions in this forest, probably, prevented the invasion by opportunistic species.

  19. Morphological and Chemical Characterization of the Invasive Ants in Hives of Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    PubMed

    Simoes, M R; Giannotti, E; Tofolo, V C; Pizano, M A; Firmino, E L B; Antonialli-Junior, W F; Andrade, L H C; Lima, S M

    2016-02-01

    Apiculture in Brazil is quite profitable and has great potential for expansion because of the favorable climate and abundancy of plant diversity. However, the occurrence of pests, diseases, and parasites hinders the growth and profitability of beekeeping. In the interior of the state of São Paulo, apiaries are attacked by ants, especially the species Camponotus atriceps (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which use the substances produced by Apis mellifera scutellata (Lepeletier) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), like honey, wax, pollen, and offspring as a source of nourishment for the adult and immature ants, and kill or expel the adult bees during the invasion. This study aimed to understand the invasion of C. atriceps in hives of A. m. scutellata. The individuals were classified into castes and subcastes according to morphometric analyses, and their cuticular chemical compounds were identified using Photoacoustic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The morphometric analyses were able to classify the individuals into reproductive castes (queen and gynes), workers (minor and small ants), and the soldier subcaste (medium and major ants). Identification of cuticular hydrocarbons of these individuals revealed that the eight beehives were invaded by only three colonies of C. atriceps; one of the colonies invaded only one beehive, and the other two colonies underwent a process called sociotomy and were responsible for the invasion of the other seven beehives. The lack of preventive measures and the nocturnal behavior of the ants favored the invasion and attack on the bees. PMID:26563402

  20. Morphological and Chemical Characterization of the Invasive Ants in Hives of Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    PubMed

    Simoes, M R; Giannotti, E; Tofolo, V C; Pizano, M A; Firmino, E L B; Antonialli-Junior, W F; Andrade, L H C; Lima, S M

    2016-02-01

    Apiculture in Brazil is quite profitable and has great potential for expansion because of the favorable climate and abundancy of plant diversity. However, the occurrence of pests, diseases, and parasites hinders the growth and profitability of beekeeping. In the interior of the state of São Paulo, apiaries are attacked by ants, especially the species Camponotus atriceps (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which use the substances produced by Apis mellifera scutellata (Lepeletier) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), like honey, wax, pollen, and offspring as a source of nourishment for the adult and immature ants, and kill or expel the adult bees during the invasion. This study aimed to understand the invasion of C. atriceps in hives of A. m. scutellata. The individuals were classified into castes and subcastes according to morphometric analyses, and their cuticular chemical compounds were identified using Photoacoustic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The morphometric analyses were able to classify the individuals into reproductive castes (queen and gynes), workers (minor and small ants), and the soldier subcaste (medium and major ants). Identification of cuticular hydrocarbons of these individuals revealed that the eight beehives were invaded by only three colonies of C. atriceps; one of the colonies invaded only one beehive, and the other two colonies underwent a process called sociotomy and were responsible for the invasion of the other seven beehives. The lack of preventive measures and the nocturnal behavior of the ants favored the invasion and attack on the bees.

  1. Evidence of niche shift and global invasion potential of the Tawny Crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sunil; LeBrun, Edward G; Stohlgren, Thomas J; Stabach, Jared A; McDonald, Danny L; Oi, David H; LaPolla, John S

    2015-10-01

    Analysis of an invasive species' niche shift between native and introduced ranges, along with potential distribution maps, can provide valuable information about its invasive potential. The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, is a rapidly emerging and economically important invasive species in the southern United States. It is originally from east-central South America and has also invaded Colombia and the Caribbean Islands. Our objectives were to generate a global potential distribution map for N. fulva, identify important climatic drivers associated with its current distribution, and test whether N. fulva's realized climatic niche has shifted across its invasive range. We used MaxEnt niche model to map the potential distribution of N. fulva using its native and invaded range occurrences and climatic variables. We used principal component analysis methods for investigating potential shifts in the realized climatic niche of N. fulva during invasion. We found strong evidence for a shift in the realized climatic niche of N. fulva across its invasive range. Our models predicted potentially suitable habitat for N. fulva in the United States and other parts of the world. Our analyses suggest that the majority of observed occurrences of N. fulva in the United States represent stabilizing populations. Mean diurnal range in temperature, degree days at ≥10°C, and precipitation of driest quarter were the most important variables associated with N. fulva distribution. The climatic niche expansion demonstrated in our study may suggest significant plasticity in the ability of N. fulva to survive in areas with diverse temperature ranges shown by its tolerance for environmental conditions in the southern United States, Caribbean Islands, and Colombia. The risk maps produced in this study can be useful in preventing N. fulva's future spread, and in managing and monitoring currently infested areas. PMID:26668728

  2. Diversity of Eastern North American Ant Communities along Environmental Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Del Toro, Israel

    2013-01-01

    Studies of species diversity patterns across regional environmental gradients seldom consider the impact of habitat type on within-site (alpha) and between-site (beta) diversity. This study is designed to identify the influence of habitat type across geographic and environmental space, on local patterns of species richness and regional turnover patterns of ant diversity in the northeastern United States. Specifically, I aim to 1) compare local species richness in paired open and forested transects and identify the environmental variables that best correlate with richness; and 2) document patterns of beta diversity throughout the region in both open and forested habitat. I systematically sampled ants at 67 sites from May to August 2010, spanning 10 degrees of latitude, and 1000 meters of elevation. Patterns of alpha and beta diversity across the region and along environmental gradients differed between forested and open habitats. Local species richness was higher in the low elevation and warmest sites and was always higher in open habitat than in forest habitat transects. Richness decreased as temperature decreased or elevation increased. Forested transects show strong patterns of decreasing dissimilarity in species composition between sites along the temperature gradient but open habitat transects did not. Maximum temperature of the warmest month better predicted species richness than either latitude or elevation. I find that using environmental variables as key predictors of richness yields more biologically relevant results, and produces simpler macroecological models than commonly used models which use only latitude and elevation as predictors of richness and diversity patterns. This study contributes to the understanding of mechanisms that structure the communities of important terrestrial arthropods which are likely to be influenced by climatic change. PMID:23874479

  3. Effects of urban development on ant communities: implications for ecosystem services and management.

    PubMed

    Sanford, Monte P; Manley, Patricia N; Murphy, Dennis D

    2009-02-01

    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 DeltaAIC(c) < 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. PMID:18778268

  4. Ecology of microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a year-long survey of three species of attine ants in Central Texas.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Andre; Mueller, Ulrich G; Ishak, Heather D; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2011-11-01

    We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in Central Texas. Microfungal prevalence was higher in gardens of C. wheeleri (57%) than in the gardens of T. septentrionalis (46%) and A. texana (35%). Culture-dependent methods coupled with a polyphasic approach of species identification revealed diverse and changing microfungal communities in all the sampling periods. Diversity analyses showed no obvious correlations between the number of observed microfungal species, ant species, or the ants' changing foraging behavior across the seasons. However, both correspondence analysis and 5.8S-rRNA gene unifrac analyses suggested structuring of microfungal communities by ant host. These host-specific differences may reflect in part the three different environments where ants were collected. Most interestingly, the specialized fungal parasite Escovopsis was not isolated from any attine garden in this study near the northernmost limit of the range of attine ants, contrasting with previous studies that indicated a significant incidence of this parasite in ant gardens from Central and South America. The observed differences of microfungal communities in attine gardens suggest that the ants are continuously in contact with a diverse microfungal species assemblage.

  5. Do long-lived ants affect soil microbial communities?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This study was designed to test the hypothesis that desert ant species that build nests that remain viable at a particular point in space for more than a decade produce soil conditions that enhance microbial biomass and functional diversity. We studied the effects of a seed-harvester ant, Pogonomyrm...

  6. Queen execution increases relatedness among workers of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile.

    PubMed

    Inoue, Maki N; Ito, Fuminori; Goka, Koichi

    2015-09-01

    Polygyny in social insects can greatly reduce within-nest genetic relatedness. In polygynous ant species, potential rival queens in colonies with multiple queens are often executed by other queens, workers, or both. The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, native to South America, forms a "supercolony" that is composed of a large number of nests and is considered to contribute to the ant's invasion success. Currently, four mutually antagonistic supercolonies are contiguously distributed within a small area of Japan. Here, we analyzed the genetic structure and relatedness within and among the four supercolonies using microsatellite markers to clarify how L. humile maintains its supercoloniality. The results of AMOVA and BASP, the F ST values, and the existence of several private alleles indicated that the L. humile population in the Kobe area had a characteristic genetic structure. Within a given supercolony, there was significant genetic differentiation (F ST) among workers collected in May and those collected in September. The significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium increased, and the relatedness among workers significantly increased from May to September in all supercolonies. This result suggested that the supercolonies replaced old queens with new ones during the reproductive season, thus supporting the plausibility of queen execution. From the perspective of kin selection, workers collectively eliminate queens, thereby increasing their own inclusive fitness. Restricted gene flow among supercolonies, together with mating with sib and queen execution, could help to maintain the unique social structure of L. humile, the distribution of which is expanding worldwide. PMID:26445661

  7. Population genetics reveals multiple introductions and subsequent cross-province movements of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We characterized patterns of genetic variation in populations of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China using both mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear DNA microsatellites. All study samples, which were collected from 17 sites across the current infested range in China, were assigned t...

  8. Ant predation on an invasive herbivore: Can an extrafloral nectar-producing plant provide associational resistance to Opuntia individuals?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The legume Chamaecrista fasciculata attracts ants to its extrafloral nectar (EFN) which can lead to reduced herbivory and increased fecundity for the plant. In Florida, Opuntia stricta and O. humifusa, hosts of the invasive moth Cactoblastis cactorum, are often found growing in close association wit...

  9. Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis.

    PubMed

    Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks. PMID:26982442

  10. Modelling Vulnerability and Range Shifts in Ant Communities Responding to Future Global Warming in Temperate Forests.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Tae-Sung; Li, Fengqing; Kim, Sung-Soo; Chun, Jung Hwa; Park, Young-Seuk

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is likely leading to species' distributional shifts, resulting in changes in local community compositions and diversity patterns. In this study, we applied species distribution models to evaluate the potential impacts of temperature increase on ant communities in Korean temperate forests, by testing hypotheses that 1) the risk of extinction of forest ant species would increase over time, and 2) the changes in species distribution ranges could drive upward movements of ant communities and further alter patterns of species richness. We sampled ant communities at 335 evenly distributed sites across South Korea and modelled the future distribution range for each species using generalized additive models. To account for spatial autocorrelation, autocovariate regressions were conducted prior to generalized additive models. Among 29 common ant species, 12 species were estimated to shrink their suitable geographic areas, whereas five species would benefit from future global warming. Species richness was highest at low altitudes in the current period, and it was projected to be highest at the mid-altitudes in the 2080s, resulting in an upward movement of 4.9 m yr-1. This altered the altitudinal pattern of species richness from a monotonic-decrease curve (common in temperate regions) to a bell-shaped curve (common in tropical regions). Overall, ant communities in temperate forests are vulnerable to the on-going global warming and their altitudinal movements are similar to other faunal communities.

  11. Modelling Vulnerability and Range Shifts in Ant Communities Responding to Future Global Warming in Temperate Forests.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Tae-Sung; Li, Fengqing; Kim, Sung-Soo; Chun, Jung Hwa; Park, Young-Seuk

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is likely leading to species' distributional shifts, resulting in changes in local community compositions and diversity patterns. In this study, we applied species distribution models to evaluate the potential impacts of temperature increase on ant communities in Korean temperate forests, by testing hypotheses that 1) the risk of extinction of forest ant species would increase over time, and 2) the changes in species distribution ranges could drive upward movements of ant communities and further alter patterns of species richness. We sampled ant communities at 335 evenly distributed sites across South Korea and modelled the future distribution range for each species using generalized additive models. To account for spatial autocorrelation, autocovariate regressions were conducted prior to generalized additive models. Among 29 common ant species, 12 species were estimated to shrink their suitable geographic areas, whereas five species would benefit from future global warming. Species richness was highest at low altitudes in the current period, and it was projected to be highest at the mid-altitudes in the 2080s, resulting in an upward movement of 4.9 m yr-1. This altered the altitudinal pattern of species richness from a monotonic-decrease curve (common in temperate regions) to a bell-shaped curve (common in tropical regions). Overall, ant communities in temperate forests are vulnerable to the on-going global warming and their altitudinal movements are similar to other faunal communities. PMID:27504632

  12. Modelling Vulnerability and Range Shifts in Ant Communities Responding to Future Global Warming in Temperate Forests

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Sung-Soo; Chun, Jung Hwa; Park, Young-Seuk

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is likely leading to species’ distributional shifts, resulting in changes in local community compositions and diversity patterns. In this study, we applied species distribution models to evaluate the potential impacts of temperature increase on ant communities in Korean temperate forests, by testing hypotheses that 1) the risk of extinction of forest ant species would increase over time, and 2) the changes in species distribution ranges could drive upward movements of ant communities and further alter patterns of species richness. We sampled ant communities at 335 evenly distributed sites across South Korea and modelled the future distribution range for each species using generalized additive models. To account for spatial autocorrelation, autocovariate regressions were conducted prior to generalized additive models. Among 29 common ant species, 12 species were estimated to shrink their suitable geographic areas, whereas five species would benefit from future global warming. Species richness was highest at low altitudes in the current period, and it was projected to be highest at the mid-altitudes in the 2080s, resulting in an upward movement of 4.9 m yr−1. This altered the altitudinal pattern of species richness from a monotonic-decrease curve (common in temperate regions) to a bell-shaped curve (common in tropical regions). Overall, ant communities in temperate forests are vulnerable to the on-going global warming and their altitudinal movements are similar to other faunal communities. PMID:27504632

  13. The role of abiotic conditions in shaping the long-term patterns of a high-elevation Argentine ant invasion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krushelnycky, P.D.; Joe, S.M.; Medeiros, A.C.; Daehler, C.C.; Loope, L.L.

    2005-01-01

    Analysis of long-term patterns of invasion can reveal the importance of abiotic factors in influencing invasion dynamics, and can help predict future patterns of spread. In the case of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), most prior studies have investigated this species' limitations in hot and dry climates. However, spatial and temporal patterns of spread involving two ant populations over the course of 30 years at a high elevation site in Hawaii suggest that cold and wet conditions have influenced both the ant's distribution and its rate of invasion. In Haleakala National Park on Maui, we found that a population invading at lower elevation is limited by increasing rainfall and presumably by associated decreasing temperatures. A second, higher elevation population has spread outward in all directions, but rates of spread in different directions appear to have been strongly influenced by differences in elevation and temperature. Patterns of foraging activity were strongly tied to soil temperatures, supporting the hypothesis that variation in temperature can influence rates of spread. Based on past patterns of spread, we predicted a total potential range that covers nearly 50% of the park and 75% of the park's subalpine habitats. We compared this rough estimate with point predictions derived from a degree-day model for Argentine ant colony reproduction, and found that the two independent predictions match closely when soil temperatures are used in the model. The cold, wet conditions that have influenced Argentine ant invasion at this site are likely to be influential at other locations in this species' current and future worldwide distribution. ?? 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  14. Desiccation resistance in tropical insects: causes and mechanisms underlying variability in a Panama ant community.

    PubMed

    Bujan, Jelena; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Kaspari, Michael

    2016-09-01

    Desiccation resistance, the ability of an organism to reduce water loss, is an essential trait in arid habitats. Drought frequency in tropical regions is predicted to increase with climate change, and small ectotherms are often under a strong desiccation risk. We tested hypotheses regarding the underexplored desiccation potential of tropical insects. We measured desiccation resistance in 82 ant species from a Panama rainforest by recording the time ants can survive desiccation stress. Species' desiccation resistance ranged from 0.7 h to 97.9 h. We tested the desiccation adaptation hypothesis, which predicts higher desiccation resistance in habitats with higher vapor pressure deficit (VPD) - the drying power of the air. In a Panama rainforest, canopy microclimates averaged a VPD of 0.43 kPa, compared to a VPD of 0.05 kPa in the understory. Canopy ants averaged desiccation resistances 2.8 times higher than the understory ants. We tested a number of mechanisms to account for desiccation resistance. Smaller insects should desiccate faster given their higher surface area to volume ratio. Desiccation resistance increased with ant mass, and canopy ants averaged 16% heavier than the understory ants. A second way to increase desiccation resistance is to carry more water. Water content was on average 2.5% higher in canopy ants, but total water content was not a good predictor of ant desiccation resistance or critical thermal maximum (CT max), a measure of an ant's thermal tolerance. In canopy ants, desiccation resistance and CT max were inversely related, suggesting a tradeoff, while the two were positively correlated in understory ants. This is the first community level test of desiccation adaptation hypothesis in tropical insects. Tropical forests do contain desiccation-resistant species, and while we cannot predict those simply based on their body size, high levels of desiccation resistance are always associated with the tropical canopy.

  15. Desiccation resistance in tropical insects: causes and mechanisms underlying variability in a Panama ant community.

    PubMed

    Bujan, Jelena; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Kaspari, Michael

    2016-09-01

    Desiccation resistance, the ability of an organism to reduce water loss, is an essential trait in arid habitats. Drought frequency in tropical regions is predicted to increase with climate change, and small ectotherms are often under a strong desiccation risk. We tested hypotheses regarding the underexplored desiccation potential of tropical insects. We measured desiccation resistance in 82 ant species from a Panama rainforest by recording the time ants can survive desiccation stress. Species' desiccation resistance ranged from 0.7 h to 97.9 h. We tested the desiccation adaptation hypothesis, which predicts higher desiccation resistance in habitats with higher vapor pressure deficit (VPD) - the drying power of the air. In a Panama rainforest, canopy microclimates averaged a VPD of 0.43 kPa, compared to a VPD of 0.05 kPa in the understory. Canopy ants averaged desiccation resistances 2.8 times higher than the understory ants. We tested a number of mechanisms to account for desiccation resistance. Smaller insects should desiccate faster given their higher surface area to volume ratio. Desiccation resistance increased with ant mass, and canopy ants averaged 16% heavier than the understory ants. A second way to increase desiccation resistance is to carry more water. Water content was on average 2.5% higher in canopy ants, but total water content was not a good predictor of ant desiccation resistance or critical thermal maximum (CT max), a measure of an ant's thermal tolerance. In canopy ants, desiccation resistance and CT max were inversely related, suggesting a tradeoff, while the two were positively correlated in understory ants. This is the first community level test of desiccation adaptation hypothesis in tropical insects. Tropical forests do contain desiccation-resistant species, and while we cannot predict those simply based on their body size, high levels of desiccation resistance are always associated with the tropical canopy. PMID:27648242

  16. Quantifying uncertainty in the potential distribution of an invasive species: climate and the Argentine ant.

    PubMed

    Hartley, Stephen; Harris, Richard; Lester, Philip J

    2006-09-01

    Maps of a species' potential range make an important contribution to conservation and invasive species risk analysis. Spatial predictions, however, should be accompanied by an assessment of their uncertainty. Here, we use multimodel inference to generate confidence intervals that incorporate both the uncertainty involved in model selection as well as the error associated with model fitting. In the case of the invasive Argentine ant, we found that it was most likely to occur where the mean daily temperature in mid-winter was 7-14 degrees C and maximum daily temperatures during the hottest month averaged 19-30 degrees C. Uninvaded regions vulnerable to future establishment include: southern China, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, central Madagascar, Morocco, high-elevation Ethiopia, Yemen and a number of oceanic islands. Greatest uncertainty exists over predictions for China, north-east India, Angola, Bolivia, Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia. Quantifying the costs of different errors (false negatives vs. false positives) was considered central for connecting modelling to decision-making and management processes.

  17. Tradeoffs, competition, and coexistence in eastern deciduous forest ant communities.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; McCormick, Gail L; Jurić, Ivan; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2013-04-01

    Ecologists have long sought to explain the coexistence of multiple potentially competing species in local assemblages. This is especially challenging in species-rich assemblages in which interspecific competition is intense, as it often is in ant assemblages. As a result, a suite of mechanisms has been proposed to explain coexistence among potentially competing ant species: the dominance-discovery tradeoff, the dominance-thermal tolerance tradeoff, spatial segregation, temperature-based niche partitioning, and temporal niche partitioning. Through a series of observations and experiments, we examined a deciduous forest ant assemblage in eastern North America for the signature of each of these coexistence mechanisms. We failed to detect evidence for any of the commonly suggested mechanisms of coexistence, with one notable exception: ant species appear to temporally partition foraging times such that behaviourally dominant species foraged more intensely at night, while foraging by subdominant species peaked during the day. Our work, though focused on a single assemblage, indicates that many of the commonly cited mechanisms of coexistence may not be general to all ant assemblages. However, temporal segregation may play a role in promoting coexistence among ant species in at least some ecosystems, as it does in many other organisms.

  18. Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Castellanos, Adrian A; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Hamer, Gabriel L; Morrow, Michael E; Eubanks, Micky D; Teel, Pete D; Hamer, Sarah A; Light, Jessica E

    2016-09-01

    Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced. Our analysis of ticks on small mammal hosts demonstrated a threefold increase in the ticks caught per unit effort on treatment relative to control plots, and elevated tick loads (a 27-fold increase) on one common rodent species. We detected only one known human pathogen (Rickettsia parkeri), present in 1.4% of larvae and 6.7% of nymph on-host Amblyomma maculatum samples but with no significant difference between treatment and control plots. Given that host and vector population dynamics are key drivers of pathogen transmission, the reduced small mammal and tick abundance associated with S. invicta may alter pathogen transmission dynamics over broader spatial scales. PMID:27651533

  19. Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)

    PubMed Central

    Medeiros, Matthew C. I.; Hamer, Gabriel L.; Morrow, Michael E.; Eubanks, Micky D.; Teel, Pete D.

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced. Our analysis of ticks on small mammal hosts demonstrated a threefold increase in the ticks caught per unit effort on treatment relative to control plots, and elevated tick loads (a 27-fold increase) on one common rodent species. We detected only one known human pathogen (Rickettsia parkeri), present in 1.4% of larvae and 6.7% of nymph on-host Amblyomma maculatum samples but with no significant difference between treatment and control plots. Given that host and vector population dynamics are key drivers of pathogen transmission, the reduced small mammal and tick abundance associated with S. invicta may alter pathogen transmission dynamics over broader spatial scales. PMID:27651533

  20. Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Castellanos, Adrian A; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Hamer, Gabriel L; Morrow, Michael E; Eubanks, Micky D; Teel, Pete D; Hamer, Sarah A; Light, Jessica E

    2016-09-01

    Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced. Our analysis of ticks on small mammal hosts demonstrated a threefold increase in the ticks caught per unit effort on treatment relative to control plots, and elevated tick loads (a 27-fold increase) on one common rodent species. We detected only one known human pathogen (Rickettsia parkeri), present in 1.4% of larvae and 6.7% of nymph on-host Amblyomma maculatum samples but with no significant difference between treatment and control plots. Given that host and vector population dynamics are key drivers of pathogen transmission, the reduced small mammal and tick abundance associated with S. invicta may alter pathogen transmission dynamics over broader spatial scales.

  1. ANTS AS BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS FOR MONITORING CHANGES IN ARID ENVIRONMENTS: LESSONS FOR MONITORING PROTECTED AREAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The responses of ant communities to structural change (removal of an invasive
    were studied in a replicated experiment in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. The
    results from sampling of ant communities by pit-fall trapping were validated by
    mapping ant colonies on the expe...

  2. ANTS AS BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS FOR MONITORING CHANGES IN ARID ENVIRONMENTS: LESSONS FOR MONITORING PROTECTED AREAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The responses of ant communities to structural change (removal of an invasive were studied in a replicated experiment in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. The results from sampling of ant communities by pit-fall trapping were validated by mapping ant colonies on the experimental plo...

  3. Patterns of spread in biological invasions dominated by long-distance jump dispersal: Insights from Argentine ants

    PubMed Central

    Suarez, Andrew V.; Holway, David A.; Case, Ted J.

    2001-01-01

    Invading organisms may spread through local movements (giving rise to a diffusion-like process) and by long-distance jumps, which are often human-mediated. The local spread of invading organisms has been fit with varying success to models that couple local population growth with diffusive spread, but to date no quantitative estimates exist for the relative importance of local dispersal relative to human-mediated long-distance jumps. Using a combination of literature review, museum records, and personal surveys, we reconstruct the invasion history of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), a widespread invasive species, at three spatial scales. Although the inherent dispersal abilities of Argentine ants are limited, in the last century, human-mediated dispersal has resulted in the establishment of this species on six continents and on many oceanic islands. Human-mediated jump dispersal has also been the primary mode of spread at a continental scale within the United States. The spread of the Argentine ant involves two discrete modes. Maximum distances spread by colonies undergoing budding reproduction averaged 150 m/year, whereas annual jump-dispersal distances averaged three orders of magnitude higher. Invasions that involve multiple dispersal processes, such as those documented here, are undoubtedly common. Detailed data on invasion dynamics are necessary to improve the predictive power of future modeling efforts. PMID:11158600

  4. The Effects of Restoration Age and Prescribed Burns on Grassland Ant Community Structure.

    PubMed

    Menke, Sean B; Gaulke, Emilee; Hamel, Allison; Vachter, Nicole

    2015-10-01

    North American grassland environments are endangered as a result of degradation and conversion for agriculture and housing. Efforts to manage and restore grasslands have traditionally focused on monitoring plant communities to determine restoration success, but the incorporation of animal communities may provide important benchmarks of ecosystem function and restoration. Ants play many roles in maintaining ecosystem health in temperate grasslands, but relatively little is known about how ant communities respond to restoration. We studied the role that restoration age and prescribed burns have on ant communities in two types of Illinois grasslands, prairies and savannas, and identify indicator species of restoration success. Grassland environments included remnants and restorations that varied in age from newly restored sites, to sites that have been under restoration for >15 yr. We demonstrate that prairie and savanna ant communities are distinct, but respond to restoration in a similar manner. Three distinct prairie ant assemblages were identified based on the age of restoration of a site-sites <3 yr old, sites that have been under restoration >5 yr, and remnant prairies. Four distinct savanna ant assemblages were identified based on the age of restoration of a site-sites <3 yr old, sites 5-15 yr old, sites >15 yr old, and remnant savanna environments. After accounting for restoration age, time since last burn in both prairie and savannas does not explain community composition or species richness. Several ant species in both prairies and savannas have predictable changes in incidence that indicate their suitability for use as indicator species.

  5. Seasonal Dynamics of Ant Community Structure in the Moroccan Argan Forest

    PubMed Central

    Keroumi, Abderrahim El; Naamani, Khalid; Soummane, Hassna; Dahbi, Abdallah

    2012-01-01

    In this study we describe the structure and composition of ant communities in the endemic Moroccan Argan forest, using pitfall traps sampling technique throughout the four seasons between May 2006 and February 2007. The study focused on two distinct climatic habitats within the Essaouira Argan forest, a semi-continental site at Lahssinate, and a coastal site at Boutazarte. Thirteen different ant species were identified, belonging to seven genera. Monomorium subopacum Smith and Tapinoma simrothi Krausse-Heldrungen (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the most abundant and behaviorally dominant ant species in the arganeraie. In addition, more specimens were captured in the semi-continental site than in the coastal area. However, no significant difference was observed in species richness, evenness, or diversity between both sites. Composition and community structure showed clear seasonal dynamics. The number of species, their abundance, their diversity, and their evenness per Argan tree were significantly dissimilar among seasons. The richness (except between summer and autumn), and the abundance and the evenness of ant species among communities, showed a significant difference between the dry period (summer and spring) and the rainy period (winter and autumn). Higher abundance and richness values occurred in the dry period of the year. Ant species dominance and seasonal climatic variations in the arganeraie might be among the main factors affecting the composition, structure, and foraging activity of ant communities. This study, together with recent findings on ant predation behavior below Argan trees, highlights the promising use of dominant ant species as potential agents of Mediterranean fruit fly bio-control in the Argan forest and surrounding ecosystems. PMID:23421815

  6. Seasonal dynamics of ant community structure in the Moroccan Argan Forest.

    PubMed

    El Keroumi, Abderrahim; Naamani, Khalid; Soummane, Hassna; Dahbi, Abdallah

    2012-01-01

    In this study we describe the structure and composition of ant communities in the endemic Moroccan Argan forest, using pitfall traps sampling technique throughout the four seasons between May 2006 and February 2007. The study focused on two distinct climatic habitats within the Essaouira Argan forest, a semi-continental site at Lahssinate, and a coastal site at Boutazarte. Thirteen different ant species were identified, belonging to seven genera. Monomorium subopacum Smith and Tapinoma simrothi Krausse-Heldrungen (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the most abundant and behaviorally dominant ant species in the arganeraie. In addition, more specimens were captured in the semi-continental site than in the coastal area. However, no significant difference was observed in species richness, evenness, or diversity between both sites. Composition and community structure showed clear seasonal dynamics. The number of species, their abundance, their diversity, and their evenness per Argan tree were significantly dissimilar among seasons. The richness (except between summer and autumn), and the abundance and the evenness of ant species among communities, showed a significant difference between the dry period (summer and spring) and the rainy period (winter and autumn). Higher abundance and richness values occurred in the dry period of the year. Ant species dominance and seasonal climatic variations in the arganeraie might be among the main factors affecting the composition, structure, and foraging activity of ant communities. This study, together with recent findings on ant predation behavior below Argan trees, highlights the promising use of dominant ant species as potential agents of Mediterranean fruit fly bio-control in the Argan forest and surrounding ecosystems.

  7. Response of native insect communities to invasive plants.

    PubMed

    Bezemer, T Martijn; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Cronin, James T

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants can disrupt a range of trophic interactions in native communities. As a novel resource they can affect the performance of native insect herbivores and their natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators, and this can lead to host shifts of these herbivores and natural enemies. Through the release of volatile compounds, and by changing the chemical complexity of the habitat, invasive plants can also affect the behavior of native insects such as herbivores, parasitoids, and pollinators. Studies that compare insects on related native and invasive plants in invaded habitats show that the abundance of insect herbivores is often lower on invasive plants, but that damage levels are similar. The impact of invasive plants on the population dynamics of resident insect species has been rarely examined, but invasive plants can influence the spatial and temporal dynamics of native insect (meta)populations and communities, ultimately leading to changes at the landscape level.

  8. Climate change may boost the invasion of the Asian needle ant.

    PubMed

    Bertelsmeier, Cleo; Guénard, Benoît; Courchamp, Franck

    2013-01-01

    Following its introduction from Asia to the USA, the Asian needle ant (Pachycondyla chinensis) is rapidly spreading into a wide range of habitats with great negative ecological affects. In addition, the species is a concern for human health because of its powerful, sometimes deadly, sting. Here, we assessed the potential of P. chinensis to spread further and to invade entirely new regions. We used species distribution models to assess suitable areas under current climatic conditions and in 2020, 2050 and 2080. With a consensus model, combining five different modelling techniques, three Global Circulation (climatic) Models and two CO2 emission scenarios, we generated world maps with suitable climatic conditions. Our models suggest that the species currently has a far greater potential distribution than its current exotic range, including large parts of the world landmass, including Northeast America, Southeast Asia and Southeast America. Climate change is predicted to greatly exacerbate the risk of P. chinensis invasion by increasing the suitable landmass by 64.9% worldwide, with large increases in Europe (+210.1%), Oceania (+75.1%), North America (+74.9%) and Asia (+62.7%). The results of our study suggest P. chinensis deserves increased attention, especially in the light of on-going climate change. PMID:24124489

  9. Habitat alteration increases invasive fire ant abundance to the detriment of amphibians and reptiles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Todd, B.D.; Rothermel, B.B.; Reed, R.N.; Luhring, T.M.; Schlatter, K.; Trenkamp, L.; Gibbons, J.W.

    2008-01-01

    Altered habitats have been suggested to facilitate red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) colonization and dispersal, possibly compounding effects of habitat alteration on native wildlife. In this study, we compared colonization intensity of wood cover boards by S. invicta among four forest management treatments in South Carolina, USA: an unharvested control (>30 years old); a partially thinned stand; a clearcut with coarse woody debris retained; and a clearcut with coarse woody debris removed. Additionally, we compared dehydration rates and survival of recently metamorphosed salamanders (marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, and mole salamanders, A. talpoideum) among treatments. We found that the number of wood cover boards colonized by S. invicta differed significantly among treatments, being lowest in the unharvested forest treatments and increasing with the degree of habitat alteration. Salamanders that were maintained in experimental field enclosures to study water loss were unexpectedly subjected to high levels of S. invicta predation that differed among forest treatments. All known predation by S. invicta was restricted to salamanders in clearcuts. The amount of vegetative ground cover was inversely related to the likelihood of S. invicta predation of salamanders. Our results show that S. invicta abundance increases with habitat disturbance and that this increased abundance has negative consequences for amphibians that remain in altered habitats. Our findings also suggest that the presence of invasive S. invicta may compromise the utility of cover boards and other techniques commonly used in herpetological studies in the Southeast. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  10. North American Invasion of the Tawny Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva) Is Enabled by Pheromonal Synergism from Two Separate Glands.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qing-He; McDonald, Danny L; Hoover, Doreen R; Aldrich, Jeffrey R; Schneidmiller, Rodney G

    2015-09-01

    A new invader, the "tawny crazy ant", Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae; Formicinae), is displacing the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Formicidae: Myrmicinae), in the southern U.S., likely through its superior chemical arsenal and communication. Alone, formic acid is unattractive, but this venom (= poison) acid powerfully synergizes attraction of tawny crazy ants to volatiles from the Dufour's gland secretion of N. fulva workers, including the two major components, undecane and 2-tridecanone. The unexpected pheromonal synergism between the Dufour's gland and the venom gland appears to be another key factor, in addition to previously known defensive and detoxification semiochemical features, for the successful invasion and domination of N. fulva in the southern U.S. This synergism is an efficient mechanism enabling N. fulva workers to outcompete Solenopsis and other ant species for food and territory. From a practical standpoint, judicious point-source release formulation of tawny crazy ant volatiles may be pivotal for enhanced attract-and-kill management of this pest. PMID:26315627

  11. On the biogeography of salt limitation: A study of ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Kaspari, Michael; Yanoviak, Stephen P.; Dudley, Robert

    2008-01-01

    Sodium is an essential nutrient whose deposition in rainfall decreases with distance inland. The herbivores and microbial decomposers that feed on sodium-poor vegetation should be particularly constrained along gradients of decreasing sodium. We studied the use of sucrose and NaCl baits in 17 New World ant communities located 4–2757 km inland. Sodium use was higher in genera and subfamilies characterized as omnivores/herbivores compared with those classified as carnivores and was lower in communities embedded in forest litter than in those embedded in abundant vegetation. Sodium use was increased in ant communities further inland, as was preference for the baits with the highest sodium concentration. Sucrose use, a measure of ant activity, peaked in communities 10–100 km inland. We suggest that the geography of ant activity is shaped by sodium toxicity near the shore and by sodium deficit farther inland. Given the importance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, changing patterns of rainfall with global change may ramify through inland food webs. PMID:19004798

  12. Indirect effects of a fungal entomopathogen, Lecanicillium lecanii (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae), on a coffee agroecosystem ant community.

    PubMed

    Macdonald, A J; Jackson, D; Zemenick, K

    2013-08-01

    Fungal entomopathogens are widely distributed across natural and managed systems, with numerous host species and likely a wide range of community impacts. While the potential for fungal pathogens to provide biological control has been explored in some detail, less is known about their community interactions. Here we investigate the effects of fungal epizootics of the entomopathogen Lecanicillium lecanii (Zimmerman) on a keystone mutualism between Azteca instabilis (F. Smith), a dominant arboreal ant, and the green coffee scale (Coccus viridis Green), as well as broader impacts on a coffee agroecosystem ant community. We hypothesized that seasonal epizootics cause shifts in the foraging ranges of A. instabilis as the ants adapt to the loss of the resource. We further hypothesized that the magnitude of these shifts depends on the availability of alternate resources located in neighboring shade trees. To test these hypotheses, we induced an epizootic in experimental sites, which were compared with control sites. Surveys of ant activity were undertaken pre- and post-epizootic. We found a decrease in foraging activity of A. instabilis and increase in activity of other ant species in the experimental sites post-epizootic. The decrease in abundance of A. instabilis foragers was greater on plants in which an epizootic was induced than in other plants. This relationship was modified by shade tree density where higher shade tree density was associated with larger decreases in A. intabilis foraging activity in coffee plants. These results demonstrate the potential for fungal entomopathogens to influence the structure and diversity of ecological communities.

  13. Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure.

    PubMed

    Mestre, Laia; Piñol, J; Barrientos, J A; Espadaler, X

    2016-01-01

    Predators have far-reaching effects on communities by triggering top-down trophic cascades that influence ecosystem functioning. Omnivory and intraguild interactions between predators give rise to reticulate food webs and may either strengthen or dampen trophic cascades depending on context. Disentangling the effects of multiple predator species is therefore crucial for predicting the influence of predators on community structure. We focused on ants as dominant generalist predators in arthropod communities and set up a differential ant exclusion from canopies to examine its effects on assemblage species composition and densities of five arthropod groups (psocopterans, aphids, spiders, heteropterans and beetles). We coupled a glue band with tubes allowing only the ant Lasius grandis to reach the canopies to isolate its effect from the rest of crawling predators (ants, earwigs) and compared it against a full exclusion and a control. L. grandis alone had widespread effects on assemblage species composition, with contrasting species-specific responses within groups, where some species affected by L. grandis presence were not further affected by the presence of the whole crawling predator assemblage, and vice versa. Overall, L. grandis caused two- to threefold decreases of generalist predators and a threefold increase of aphids. However, it lacked further top-down effects on primary consumers, which only emerged when all crawling predators were present. This differential exclusion demonstrates the distinctive and widespread intraguild effects on community structure of a single ant species that contrast with the top-down effects exerted by the whole crawling predator assemblage.

  14. Visualization of Metabolic Interaction Networks in Microbial Communities Using VisANT 5.0.

    PubMed

    Granger, Brian R; Chang, Yi-Chien; Wang, Yan; DeLisi, Charles; Segrè, Daniel; Hu, Zhenjun

    2016-04-01

    The complexity of metabolic networks in microbial communities poses an unresolved visualization and interpretation challenge. We address this challenge in the newly expanded version of a software tool for the analysis of biological networks, VisANT 5.0. We focus in particular on facilitating the visual exploration of metabolic interaction between microbes in a community, e.g. as predicted by COMETS (Computation of Microbial Ecosystems in Time and Space), a dynamic stoichiometric modeling framework. Using VisANT's unique metagraph implementation, we show how one can use VisANT 5.0 to explore different time-dependent ecosystem-level metabolic networks. In particular, we analyze the metabolic interaction network between two bacteria previously shown to display an obligate cross-feeding interdependency. In addition, we illustrate how a putative minimal gut microbiome community could be represented in our framework, making it possible to highlight interactions across multiple coexisting species. We envisage that the "symbiotic layout" of VisANT can be employed as a general tool for the analysis of metabolism in complex microbial communities as well as heterogeneous human tissues. VisANT is freely available at: http://visant.bu.edu and COMETS at http://comets.bu.edu.

  15. Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure.

    PubMed

    Mestre, Laia; Piñol, J; Barrientos, J A; Espadaler, X

    2016-01-01

    Predators have far-reaching effects on communities by triggering top-down trophic cascades that influence ecosystem functioning. Omnivory and intraguild interactions between predators give rise to reticulate food webs and may either strengthen or dampen trophic cascades depending on context. Disentangling the effects of multiple predator species is therefore crucial for predicting the influence of predators on community structure. We focused on ants as dominant generalist predators in arthropod communities and set up a differential ant exclusion from canopies to examine its effects on assemblage species composition and densities of five arthropod groups (psocopterans, aphids, spiders, heteropterans and beetles). We coupled a glue band with tubes allowing only the ant Lasius grandis to reach the canopies to isolate its effect from the rest of crawling predators (ants, earwigs) and compared it against a full exclusion and a control. L. grandis alone had widespread effects on assemblage species composition, with contrasting species-specific responses within groups, where some species affected by L. grandis presence were not further affected by the presence of the whole crawling predator assemblage, and vice versa. Overall, L. grandis caused two- to threefold decreases of generalist predators and a threefold increase of aphids. However, it lacked further top-down effects on primary consumers, which only emerged when all crawling predators were present. This differential exclusion demonstrates the distinctive and widespread intraguild effects on community structure of a single ant species that contrast with the top-down effects exerted by the whole crawling predator assemblage. PMID:26376660

  16. Visualization of Metabolic Interaction Networks in Microbial Communities Using VisANT 5.0.

    PubMed

    Granger, Brian R; Chang, Yi-Chien; Wang, Yan; DeLisi, Charles; Segrè, Daniel; Hu, Zhenjun

    2016-04-01

    The complexity of metabolic networks in microbial communities poses an unresolved visualization and interpretation challenge. We address this challenge in the newly expanded version of a software tool for the analysis of biological networks, VisANT 5.0. We focus in particular on facilitating the visual exploration of metabolic interaction between microbes in a community, e.g. as predicted by COMETS (Computation of Microbial Ecosystems in Time and Space), a dynamic stoichiometric modeling framework. Using VisANT's unique metagraph implementation, we show how one can use VisANT 5.0 to explore different time-dependent ecosystem-level metabolic networks. In particular, we analyze the metabolic interaction network between two bacteria previously shown to display an obligate cross-feeding interdependency. In addition, we illustrate how a putative minimal gut microbiome community could be represented in our framework, making it possible to highlight interactions across multiple coexisting species. We envisage that the "symbiotic layout" of VisANT can be employed as a general tool for the analysis of metabolism in complex microbial communities as well as heterogeneous human tissues. VisANT is freely available at: http://visant.bu.edu and COMETS at http://comets.bu.edu. PMID:27081850

  17. On the biogeography of salt limitation: a study of ant communities.

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Dudley, Robert

    2008-11-18

    Sodium is an essential nutrient whose deposition in rainfall decreases with distance inland. The herbivores and microbial decomposers that feed on sodium-poor vegetation should be particularly constrained along gradients of decreasing sodium. We studied the use of sucrose and NaCl baits in 17 New World ant communities located 4-2757 km inland. Sodium use was higher in genera and subfamilies characterized as omnivores/herbivores compared with those classified as carnivores and was lower in communities embedded in forest litter than in those embedded in abundant vegetation. Sodium use was increased in ant communities further inland, as was preference for the baits with the highest sodium concentration. Sucrose use, a measure of ant activity, peaked in communities 10-100 km inland. We suggest that the geography of ant activity is shaped by sodium toxicity near the shore and by sodium deficit farther inland. Given the importance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, changing patterns of rainfall with global change may ramify through inland food webs.

  18. Competition between honeydew producers in an ant-hemipteran interaction may enhance biological control of an invasive pest.

    PubMed

    Tena, A; Hoddle, C D; Hoddle, M S

    2013-12-01

    Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae), is an invasive citrus pest in southern California, which secretes honeydew and has the potential to spread a lethal bacterial disease, huanglongbing, of citrus. In urban citrus, Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), also an invasive pest, tends honeydew-producing hemipterans. We used field data to determine whether the mutualistic relationship between L. humile and six established species of honeydew producers may hinder or favor the establishment of D. citri and its biological control with Tamarixia radiata (Waterston) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in citrus via competition or mutualism for ants, respectively. In the field, L. humile and D. citri are engaged in a mutualistic relationship. Ants harvest solid honeydew secreted by psyllid nymphs and tended more than 55% of observed D. citri colonies. Linepithema humile displayed a preference hierarchy when tending honeydew producers infesting citrus. It responded equally or less intensively to D. citri than to other honeydew-producing species. Consequently, the mutualism between L. humile and D. citri was affected by the presence of other honeydew-producing species, and the percentage of D. citri colonies tended by L. humile. The number of ants per D. citri colony also decreased as the number of other honeydew producers increased. Diaphorina citri density was also affected by the presence of other honeydew producers. Both colony size and the number of D. citri nymphs counted per tree decreased as the number of other honeydew producers increased. Our results indicate that competition between honeydew producers for the mutualist ant L. humile may hinder the establishment of D. citri by possibly facilitating increased biological control.

  19. Competition between honeydew producers in an ant-hemipteran interaction may enhance biological control of an invasive pest.

    PubMed

    Tena, A; Hoddle, C D; Hoddle, M S

    2013-12-01

    Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae), is an invasive citrus pest in southern California, which secretes honeydew and has the potential to spread a lethal bacterial disease, huanglongbing, of citrus. In urban citrus, Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), also an invasive pest, tends honeydew-producing hemipterans. We used field data to determine whether the mutualistic relationship between L. humile and six established species of honeydew producers may hinder or favor the establishment of D. citri and its biological control with Tamarixia radiata (Waterston) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in citrus via competition or mutualism for ants, respectively. In the field, L. humile and D. citri are engaged in a mutualistic relationship. Ants harvest solid honeydew secreted by psyllid nymphs and tended more than 55% of observed D. citri colonies. Linepithema humile displayed a preference hierarchy when tending honeydew producers infesting citrus. It responded equally or less intensively to D. citri than to other honeydew-producing species. Consequently, the mutualism between L. humile and D. citri was affected by the presence of other honeydew-producing species, and the percentage of D. citri colonies tended by L. humile. The number of ants per D. citri colony also decreased as the number of other honeydew producers increased. Diaphorina citri density was also affected by the presence of other honeydew producers. Both colony size and the number of D. citri nymphs counted per tree decreased as the number of other honeydew producers increased. Our results indicate that competition between honeydew producers for the mutualist ant L. humile may hinder the establishment of D. citri by possibly facilitating increased biological control. PMID:23941659

  20. The GÉANT network: addressing current and future needs of the HEP community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capone, Vincenzo; Usman, Mian

    2015-12-01

    The GÉANT infrastructure is the backbone that serves the scientific communities in Europe for their data movement needs and their access to international research and education networks. Using the extensive fibre footprint and infrastructure in Europe the GÉANT network delivers a portfolio of services aimed to best fit the specific needs of the users, including Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure, end-to-end performance monitoring, advanced network services (dynamic circuits, L2-L3VPN, MD-VPN). This talk will outline the factors that help the GÉANT network to respond to the needs of the High Energy Physics community, both in Europe and worldwide. The Pan-European network provides the connectivity between 40 European national research and education networks. In addition, GÉANT also connects the European NRENs to the R&E networks in other world region and has reach to over 110 NREN worldwide, making GÉANT the best connected Research and Education network, with its multiple intercontinental links to different continents e.g. North and South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific. The High Energy Physics computational needs have always had (and will keep having) a leading role among the scientific user groups of the GÉANT network: the LHCONE overlay network has been built, in collaboration with the other big world REN, specifically to address the peculiar needs of the LHC data movement. Recently, as a result of a series of coordinated efforts, the LHCONE network has been expanded to the Asia-Pacific area, and is going to include some of the main regional R&E network in the area. The LHC community is not the only one that is actively using a distributed computing model (hence the need for a high-performance network); new communities are arising, as BELLE II. GÉANT is deeply involved also with the BELLE II Experiment, to provide full support to their distributed computing model, along with a perfSONAR-based network monitoring system. GÉANT has also

  1. Experimental evidence that dispersal drives ant community assembly in human-altered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

    A key shortcoming in our understanding of exotic species' success is that it is not known how post-introduction dispersal contributes to the success of exotic species and the reassembly of invaded communities. Exotic and native species face poorly understood competition-colonization trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes of natural and anthropogenic habitats. We conducted three experiments that tested how ant queen behavior during dispersal affects community composition. Using experimental plots, we tested whether (1) different types of habitat disturbance and (2) different sizes of habitat disturbance affected the abundance of newly mated queens landing in the plots. The three most abundant species captured were the exotic fire ant Solenopsis invicta, and the native species Brachymyrmex depilis, and S. pergandei, respectively. When queens were considered collectively, more queens landed in plowed, sand-added, and roadside plots than in control or mow plots, in other words, in the more heavily disturbed plots. We also tested (3) the effect of habitat manipulations on the survival of newly mated fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta). Soil disturbance (tilling), lack of shade, and removal (poisoning) of the ant community resulted in the greatest fire ant colony survivorship. Collectively, experiments revealed that both exotic and native newly mated ant queens select open, human-altered ecosystems for founding new colonies. The selection of such habitats by fire ant queens leads to their successful colony founding and ultimately to their dominance in those habitats. Selection of disturbed habitats is therefore advantageous for exotic species but is an ecological trap for native species because they do not often succeed in founding colonies in these habitats.

  2. Experimental evidence that dispersal drives ant community assembly in human-altered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

    A key shortcoming in our understanding of exotic species' success is that it is not known how post-introduction dispersal contributes to the success of exotic species and the reassembly of invaded communities. Exotic and native species face poorly understood competition-colonization trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes of natural and anthropogenic habitats. We conducted three experiments that tested how ant queen behavior during dispersal affects community composition. Using experimental plots, we tested whether (1) different types of habitat disturbance and (2) different sizes of habitat disturbance affected the abundance of newly mated queens landing in the plots. The three most abundant species captured were the exotic fire ant Solenopsis invicta, and the native species Brachymyrmex depilis, and S. pergandei, respectively. When queens were considered collectively, more queens landed in plowed, sand-added, and roadside plots than in control or mow plots, in other words, in the more heavily disturbed plots. We also tested (3) the effect of habitat manipulations on the survival of newly mated fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta). Soil disturbance (tilling), lack of shade, and removal (poisoning) of the ant community resulted in the greatest fire ant colony survivorship. Collectively, experiments revealed that both exotic and native newly mated ant queens select open, human-altered ecosystems for founding new colonies. The selection of such habitats by fire ant queens leads to their successful colony founding and ultimately to their dominance in those habitats. Selection of disturbed habitats is therefore advantageous for exotic species but is an ecological trap for native species because they do not often succeed in founding colonies in these habitats. PMID:27008792

  3. Workers select mates for queens: a possible mechanism of gene flow restriction between supercolonies of the invasive Argentine ant.

    PubMed

    Sunamura, Eiriki; Hoshizaki, Sugihiko; Sakamoto, Hironori; Fujii, Takeshi; Nishisue, Koji; Suzuki, Shun; Terayama, Mamoru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Tatsuki, Sadahiro

    2011-05-01

    Some invasive ants form large networks of mutually non-aggressive nests, i.e., supercolonies. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile forms much larger supercolonies in introduced ranges than in its native range. In both cases, it has been shown that little gene flow occurs between supercolonies of this species, though the mechanism of gene flow restriction is unknown. In this species, queens do not undertake nuptial flight, and males have to travel to foreign nests and cope with workers before gaining access to alien queens. In this study, we hypothesized that male Argentine ants receive interference from workers of alien supercolonies. To test this hypothesis, we conducted behavioral and chemical experiments using ants from two supercolonies in Japan. Workers attacked males from alien supercolonies but not those from their own supercolonies. The level of aggression against alien males was similar to that against alien workers. The frequency of severe aggression against alien males increased as the number of recipient workers increased. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, which serve as cues for nestmate recognition, of workers and males from the same supercolony were very similar. Workers are likely to distinguish alien males from males of their own supercolony using the profiles. It is predicted that males are subject to considerable aggression from workers when they intrude into the nests of alien supercolonies. This may be a mechanism underlying the restricted gene flow between supercolonies of Argentine ants. The Argentine ant may possess a distinctive reproductive system, where workers participate in selecting mates for their queens. We argue that the aggression of workers against alien males is a novel form of reproductive interference.

  4. Workers select mates for queens: a possible mechanism of gene flow restriction between supercolonies of the invasive Argentine ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sunamura, Eiriki; Hoshizaki, Sugihiko; Sakamoto, Hironori; Fujii, Takeshi; Nishisue, Koji; Suzuki, Shun; Terayama, Mamoru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Tatsuki, Sadahiro

    2011-05-01

    Some invasive ants form large networks of mutually non-aggressive nests, i.e., supercolonies. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile forms much larger supercolonies in introduced ranges than in its native range. In both cases, it has been shown that little gene flow occurs between supercolonies of this species, though the mechanism of gene flow restriction is unknown. In this species, queens do not undertake nuptial flight, and males have to travel to foreign nests and cope with workers before gaining access to alien queens. In this study, we hypothesized that male Argentine ants receive interference from workers of alien supercolonies. To test this hypothesis, we conducted behavioral and chemical experiments using ants from two supercolonies in Japan. Workers attacked males from alien supercolonies but not those from their own supercolonies. The level of aggression against alien males was similar to that against alien workers. The frequency of severe aggression against alien males increased as the number of recipient workers increased. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, which serve as cues for nestmate recognition, of workers and males from the same supercolony were very similar. Workers are likely to distinguish alien males from males of their own supercolony using the profiles. It is predicted that males are subject to considerable aggression from workers when they intrude into the nests of alien supercolonies. This may be a mechanism underlying the restricted gene flow between supercolonies of Argentine ants. The Argentine ant may possess a distinctive reproductive system, where workers participate in selecting mates for their queens. We argue that the aggression of workers against alien males is a novel form of reproductive interference.

  5. Ant community composition across a gradient of disturbed military landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2008-01-01

    Military training, soil texture, and ground cover influence ant communities at Fort Benning, a military installation in west-central Georgia. We sampled 81,237 ground-dwelling ants (47 species in 20 genera) with pitfall traps at 40 sites on a continuum from nearly pristine forest to highly disturbed training areas. We also measured 15 environmental variables related to vegetation and soil. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and more compact soils with shallower A-horizons than comparable undisturbed sites. Pheidole bicarinata, Dorymyrmex smithi, and Pogonomyrmex badius dominated the most highly disturbed sites. Competitively submissive myrmicines, such as Aphaenogaster and Crematogaster, and formicines, such as Camponotus and Formica, were abundant in the undisturbed sites. Solenopsis invicta occurred in all but the least disturbed sites. Ant community composition was a useful indicator of disturbance at Fort Benning.

  6. Ecosystem-wide morphological structure of leaf-litter ant communities along a tropical latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Silva, Rogério R; Brandão, Carlos Roberto F

    2014-01-01

    General principles that shape community structure can be described based on a functional trait approach grounded on predictive models; increased attention has been paid to factors accounting for the functional diversity of species assemblages and its association with species richness along environmental gradients. We analyze here the interaction between leaf-litter ant species richness, the local communities' morphological structure and fundamental niche within the context of a northeast-southeast latitudinal gradient in one of the world's most species-rich ecosystems, the Atlantic Forest, representing 2,700 km of tropical rainforest along almost 20° of latitude in eastern Brazil. Our results are consistent with an ecosystem-wide pattern in communities' structure, with relatively high species turnover but functionally analogous leaf-litter ant communities' organization. Our results suggest directional shifts in the morphological space along the environmental gradient from overdispersed to aggregated (from North to South), suggesting that primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity (altitude, temperature and precipitation in the case) determine the distribution of traits and regulate the assembly rules, shaping local leaf-litter ant communities. Contrary to the expected and most common pattern along latitudinal gradients, the Atlantic Forest leaf litter ant communities show an inverse pattern in richness, that is, richer communities in higher than in lower latitudes. The morphological specialization of communities showed more morphologically distinct communities at low latitudes and species redundancy at high latitudes. We claim that an inverse latitudinal gradient in primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity across the Atlantic forest may affect morphological diversity and species richness, enhancing species coexistence mechanisms, and producing thus the observed patterns. We suggest that a functional framework based on flexible enough traits

  7. Ecosystem-wide morphological structure of leaf-litter ant communities along a tropical latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Silva, Rogério R; Brandão, Carlos Roberto F

    2014-01-01

    General principles that shape community structure can be described based on a functional trait approach grounded on predictive models; increased attention has been paid to factors accounting for the functional diversity of species assemblages and its association with species richness along environmental gradients. We analyze here the interaction between leaf-litter ant species richness, the local communities' morphological structure and fundamental niche within the context of a northeast-southeast latitudinal gradient in one of the world's most species-rich ecosystems, the Atlantic Forest, representing 2,700 km of tropical rainforest along almost 20° of latitude in eastern Brazil. Our results are consistent with an ecosystem-wide pattern in communities' structure, with relatively high species turnover but functionally analogous leaf-litter ant communities' organization. Our results suggest directional shifts in the morphological space along the environmental gradient from overdispersed to aggregated (from North to South), suggesting that primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity (altitude, temperature and precipitation in the case) determine the distribution of traits and regulate the assembly rules, shaping local leaf-litter ant communities. Contrary to the expected and most common pattern along latitudinal gradients, the Atlantic Forest leaf litter ant communities show an inverse pattern in richness, that is, richer communities in higher than in lower latitudes. The morphological specialization of communities showed more morphologically distinct communities at low latitudes and species redundancy at high latitudes. We claim that an inverse latitudinal gradient in primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity across the Atlantic forest may affect morphological diversity and species richness, enhancing species coexistence mechanisms, and producing thus the observed patterns. We suggest that a functional framework based on flexible enough traits

  8. Visualization of Metabolic Interaction Networks in Microbial Communities Using VisANT 5.0

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yan; DeLisi, Charles; Segrè, Daniel; Hu, Zhenjun

    2016-01-01

    The complexity of metabolic networks in microbial communities poses an unresolved visualization and interpretation challenge. We address this challenge in the newly expanded version of a software tool for the analysis of biological networks, VisANT 5.0. We focus in particular on facilitating the visual exploration of metabolic interaction between microbes in a community, e.g. as predicted by COMETS (Computation of Microbial Ecosystems in Time and Space), a dynamic stoichiometric modeling framework. Using VisANT’s unique metagraph implementation, we show how one can use VisANT 5.0 to explore different time-dependent ecosystem-level metabolic networks. In particular, we analyze the metabolic interaction network between two bacteria previously shown to display an obligate cross-feeding interdependency. In addition, we illustrate how a putative minimal gut microbiome community could be represented in our framework, making it possible to highlight interactions across multiple coexisting species. We envisage that the “symbiotic layout” of VisANT can be employed as a general tool for the analysis of metabolism in complex microbial communities as well as heterogeneous human tissues. VisANT is freely available at: http://visant.bu.edu and COMETS at http://comets.bu.edu. PMID:27081850

  9. Visualization of metabolic interaction networks in microbial communities using VisANT 5.0

    DOE PAGES

    Granger, Brian R.; Chang, Yi -Chien; Wang, Yan; DeLisi, Charles; Segre, Daniel; Hu, Zhenjun

    2016-04-15

    Here, the complexity of metabolic networks in microbial communities poses an unresolved visualization and interpretation challenge. We address this challenge in the newly expanded version of a software tool for the analysis of biological networks, VisANT 5.0. We focus in particular on facilitating the visual exploration of metabolic interaction between microbes in a community, e.g. as predicted by COMETS (Computation of Microbial Ecosystems in Time and Space), a dynamic stoichiometric modeling framework. Using VisANT's unique meta-graph implementation, we show how one can use VisANT 5.0 to explore different time-dependent ecosystem-level metabolic networks. In particular, we analyze the metabolic interaction networkmore » between two bacteria previously shown to display an obligate cross-feeding interdependency. In addition, we illustrate how a putative minimal gut microbiome community could be represented in our framework, making it possible to highlight interactions across multiple coexisting species. We envisage that the "symbiotic layout" of VisANT can be employed as a general tool for the analysis of metabolism in complex microbial communities as well as heterogeneous human tissues.« less

  10. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens

    SciTech Connect

    Aylward, Frank O.; Burnum, Kristin E.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G.; Adams, Sandra M.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Nicora, Carrie D.; Piehowski, Paul D.; Purvine, Samuel O.; Starrett, Gabriel J.; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Smith, Richard D.; Lipton, Mary S.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2012-09-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant Neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on massive quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers in mature Atta colonies. Here we use metagenomic, and metaproteomic techniques to characterize the bacterial diversity and overall physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that, in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes commonly associated with lignocellulose degradation, and likely participate in the processing of plant biomass. Additionally, we demonstrate that bacteria in these environments encode a diverse suite of biosynthetic pathways, and that they may enrich the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants with B-vitamins, amino acids, and proteins. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are highly-specialized fungus-bacteria communities that efficiently convert plant material into usable energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities to the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans.

  11. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens

    PubMed Central

    Aylward, Frank O; Burnum, Kristin E; Scott, Jarrod J; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G; Adams, Sandra M; Barry, Kerrie W; Nicora, Carrie D; Piehowski, Paul D; Purvine, Samuel O; Starrett, Gabriel J; Goodwin, Lynne A; Smith, Richard D; Lipton, Mary S; Currie, Cameron R

    2012-01-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on large quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers. Using metagenomic and metaproteomic techniques, we characterize the bacterial diversity and physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes associated with lignocellulose degradation and diverse biosynthetic pathways, suggesting that they play a role in nutrient cycling by converting the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants into B-vitamins, amino acids and other cellular components. Our metaproteomic analysis confirms that bacterial glycosyl hydrolases and proteins with putative biosynthetic functions are produced in both field-collected and laboratory-reared colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are specialized fungus–bacteria communities that convert plant material into energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities in the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans. PMID:22378535

  12. Granivory of invasive, naturalized, and native plants in communities differentially susceptible to invasion.

    PubMed

    Connolly, B M; Pearson, D E; Mack, R N

    2014-07-01

    Seed predation is an important biotic filter that can influence abundance and spatial distributions of native species through differential effects on recruitment. This filter may also influence the relative abundance of nonnative plants within habitats and the communities' susceptibility to invasion via differences in granivore identity, abundance, and food preference. We evaluated the effect of postdispersal seed predators on the establishment of invasive, naturalized, and native species within and between adjacent forest and steppe communities of eastern Washington, USA that differ in severity of plant invasion. Seed removal from trays placed within guild-specific exclosures revealed that small mammals were the dominant seed predators in both forest and steppe. Seeds of invasive species (Bromus tectorum, Cirsium arvense) were removed significantly less than the seeds of native (Pseudoroegneria spicata, Balsamorhiza sagittata) and naturalized (Secale cereale, Centaurea cyanus) species. Seed predation limited seedling emergence and establishment in both communities in the absence of competition in a pattern reflecting natural plant abundance: S. cereale was most suppressed, B. tectorum was least suppressed, and P. spicata was suppressed at an intermediate level. Furthermore, seed predation reduced the residual seed bank for all species. Seed mass correlated with seed removal rates in the forest and their subsequent effects on plant recruitment; larger seeds were removed at higher rates than smaller seeds. Our vegetation surveys indicate higher densities and canopy cover of nonnative species occur in the steppe compared with the forest understory, suggesting the steppe may be more susceptible to invasion. Seed predation alone, however, did not result in significant differences in establishment for any species between these communities, presumably due to similar total small-mammal abundance between communities. Consequently, preferential seed predation by small

  13. Tank bromeliads as natural microcosms: a facultative association with ants influences the aquatic invertebrate community structure.

    PubMed

    Talaga, Stanislas; Dézerald, Olivier; Carteron, Alexis; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Leroy, Céline; Céréghino, Régis; Dejean, Alain

    2015-10-01

    Many tank bromeliads have facultative relationships with ants as is the case in French Guiana between Aechmea aquilega (Salib.) Griseb. and the trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus haematodus Linnaeus. Using a redundancy analysis, we determined that the presence of O. haematodus colonies is accompanied by a greater quantity of fine particulate organic matter in the water likely due to their wastes. This increase in nutrient availability is significantly correlated with an increase in the abundance of some detritivorous taxa, suggesting a positive bottom-up influence on the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities living in the A. aquilega wells. On the other hand, the abundance of top predators is negatively affected by a lower number of available wells due to ant constructions for nesting, releasing a top-down pressure that could also favor lower trophic levels.

  14. Tank bromeliads as natural microcosms: a facultative association with ants influences the aquatic invertebrate community structure.

    PubMed

    Talaga, Stanislas; Dézerald, Olivier; Carteron, Alexis; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Leroy, Céline; Céréghino, Régis; Dejean, Alain

    2015-10-01

    Many tank bromeliads have facultative relationships with ants as is the case in French Guiana between Aechmea aquilega (Salib.) Griseb. and the trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus haematodus Linnaeus. Using a redundancy analysis, we determined that the presence of O. haematodus colonies is accompanied by a greater quantity of fine particulate organic matter in the water likely due to their wastes. This increase in nutrient availability is significantly correlated with an increase in the abundance of some detritivorous taxa, suggesting a positive bottom-up influence on the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities living in the A. aquilega wells. On the other hand, the abundance of top predators is negatively affected by a lower number of available wells due to ant constructions for nesting, releasing a top-down pressure that could also favor lower trophic levels. PMID:26302833

  15. Seed Selection by the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Coastal Sage Scrub: Interactions With Invasive Plant Species.

    PubMed

    Briggs, C M; Redak, R A

    2016-08-01

    Harvester ants can be the dominant seed predators on plants by collecting and eating seeds and are known to influence plant communities. Harvester ants are abundant in coastal sage scrub (CSS), and CSS is frequently invaded by several exotic plant species. This study used observations of foraging and cafeteria-style experiments to test for seed species selection by the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in CSS. Analysis of foraging behavior showed that P. rugosus carried seeds of exotic Erodium cicutarium (L.) and exotic Brassica tournefortii (Gouan) on 85 and 15% of return trips to the nest (respectively), and only a very few ants carried the native seeds found within the study areas. When compared with the availability of seeds in the field, P. rugosus selected exotic E. cicutarium and avoided both native Encelia farinosa (Torrey & A. Gray) and exotic B. tournefortii. Foraging by P. rugosus had no major effect on the seed bank in the field. Cafeteria-style experiments confirmed that P. rugosus selected E. cicutarium over other available seeds. Native Eriogonum fasciculatum (Bentham) seeds were even less selected than E. farinosa and B. tournefortii.

  16. Seed Selection by the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Coastal Sage Scrub: Interactions With Invasive Plant Species.

    PubMed

    Briggs, C M; Redak, R A

    2016-08-01

    Harvester ants can be the dominant seed predators on plants by collecting and eating seeds and are known to influence plant communities. Harvester ants are abundant in coastal sage scrub (CSS), and CSS is frequently invaded by several exotic plant species. This study used observations of foraging and cafeteria-style experiments to test for seed species selection by the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in CSS. Analysis of foraging behavior showed that P. rugosus carried seeds of exotic Erodium cicutarium (L.) and exotic Brassica tournefortii (Gouan) on 85 and 15% of return trips to the nest (respectively), and only a very few ants carried the native seeds found within the study areas. When compared with the availability of seeds in the field, P. rugosus selected exotic E. cicutarium and avoided both native Encelia farinosa (Torrey & A. Gray) and exotic B. tournefortii. Foraging by P. rugosus had no major effect on the seed bank in the field. Cafeteria-style experiments confirmed that P. rugosus selected E. cicutarium over other available seeds. Native Eriogonum fasciculatum (Bentham) seeds were even less selected than E. farinosa and B. tournefortii. PMID:27257121

  17. Disentangling a rainforest food web using stable isotopes: dietary diversity in a species-rich ant community.

    PubMed

    Blüthgen, Nico; Gebauer, Gerhard; Fiedler, Konrad

    2003-11-01

    For diverse communities of omnivorous insects such as ants, the extent of direct consumption of plant-derived resources vs. predation is largely unknown. However, determination of the extent of "herbivory" among ants may be crucial to understand the hyper-dominance of ants in tropical tree crowns, where prey organisms tend to occur scarcely and unpredictably. We therefore examined N and C stable isotope ratios (delta(15)N and delta(13)C) in 50 ant species and associated insects and plants from a tropical rainforest in North Queensland, Australia. Variation between ant species was pronounced (range of species means: 7.1 per thousand in delta(15)N and 6.8 per thousand in delta(13)C). Isotope signatures of the entire ant community overlapped with those of several herbivorous as well as predacious arthropods. Variability in delta(15)N between ants was not correlated with plant delta(15)N from which they were collected. Ant species spread out in a continuum between largely herbivorous and purely predacious taxa, with a high degree of omnivory. Ant species' delta(15)N were consistent with the trophic level predicted by natural feeding observations, but not their delta(13)C. Low delta(15)N levels were recorded for ant species that commonly forage for nectar on understorey or canopy plants, intermediate levels for species with large colonies that were highly abundant on nectar and honeydew sources and were predacious, and the highest levels for predominantly predatory ground-foraging species. Colonies of the dominant weaver-ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) had significantly lower delta(15)N in mature forests (where preferred honeydew and nectar sources are abundant) than in open secondary vegetation. N concentration of ant dry mass showed only very limited variability across species and no correlation with trophic levels. This study demonstrates that stable isotopes provide a powerful tool for quantitative analyses of trophic niche partitioning and plasticity in complex and

  18. SEASONAL AND DIURNAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS IN ANT (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) COMMUNITIES IN A VEGETATION TRANSITION REGION OF SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO

    EPA Science Inventory

    The densities of active ant colonies were estimated in three habitats: creosotebush shrubland, grassland, and shinnery-oak mesquite dunes. Diurnal foraging patterns were studied at bait boards. Species richness of ant communities in this transitional region (8-12 species) was co...

  19. Effects of temporally persistent ant nests of soil protozoan communities and the abundance of morphological types of amoeba

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We compared soil protozoan communities near ant nests with soil protozoans in reference soils 5m from the edge of any mounds. We sampled three species of Chihuahuan Desert ants that construct nests that persist for more than a decade: a seed harvester, Pogonomymex rugosus, a liquid feeding honey-po...

  20. Chemical warfare among invaders: a detoxification interaction facilitates an ant invasion.

    PubMed

    Lebrun, Edward G; Jones, Nathan T; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2014-02-28

    As tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) invade the southern United States, they often displace imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). After exposure to S. invicta venom, N. fulva applies abdominal exocrine gland secretions to its cuticle. Bioassays reveal that these secretions detoxify S. invicta venom. Further, formic acid from N. fulva venom is the detoxifying agent. N. fulva exhibits this detoxification behavior after conflict with a variety of ant species; however, it expresses it most intensely after interactions with S. invicta. This behavior may have evolved in their shared South American native range. The capacity to detoxify a major competitor's venom probably contributes substantially to its ability to displace S. invicta populations, making this behavior a causative agent in the ecological transformation of regional arthropod assemblages. PMID:24526314

  1. Thermal adaptation generates a diversity of thermal limits in a rainforest ant community.

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael; Clay, Natalie A; Lucas, Jane; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Kay, Adam

    2015-03-01

    The Thermal Adaptation Hypothesis posits that the warmer, aseasonal tropics generates populations with higher and narrower thermal limits. It has largely been tested among populations across latitudes. However, considerable thermal heterogeneity exists within ecosystems: across 31 trees in a Panama rainforest, surfaces exposed to sun were 8 °C warmer and varied more in temperature than surfaces in the litter below. Tiny ectotherms are confined to surfaces and are variously submerged in these superheated boundary layer environments. We quantified the surface CTmin and CTmax s (surface temperatures at which individuals grew torpid and lost motor control, respectively) of 88 ant species from this forest; they ranged in average mass from 0.01 to 57 mg. Larger ants had broader thermal tolerances. Then, for 26 of these species we again tested body CTmax s using a thermal dry bath to eliminate boundary layer effects: body size correlations observed previously disappeared. In both experiments, consistent with Thermal Adaptation, CTmax s of canopy ants averaged 3.5-5 °C higher than populations that nested in the shade of the understory. We impaled thermocouples in taxidermy mounts to further quantify the factors shaping operative temperatures for four ant species representing the top third (1-30 mg) of the size distribution. Extrapolations suggest the smallest 2/3rds of species reach thermal equilibrium in <10s. Moreover, the large ants that walk above the convective superheated surface air also showed more net heating by solar radiation, with operative temperatures up to 4 °C higher than surrounding air. The thermal environments of this Panama rainforest generate a range of CTmax subsuming 74% of those previously recorded for ant populations worldwide. The Thermal Adaptation Hypothesis can be a powerful tool in predicting diversity of thermal limits within communities. Boundary layer temperatures are likely key to predicting the future of Earth's tiny terrestrial

  2. Impact of forest seral stage on use of ant communities for rapid assessment of terrestrial ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Wike, Lynn D; Martin, F Douglas; Paller, Michael H; Nelson, Eric A

    2010-01-01

    Bioassessment evaluates ecosystem health by using the responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the ecosystem. A variety of bioassessment methods have been applied to aquatic ecosystems; however, terrestrial methods are less advanced. The objective of this study was to examine baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a broader terrestrial bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at nine sites having four seral stages: clearcut, 5 year recovery, 15 year recovery, and mature stands. Soil and vegetation data were also collected at each site. Ants were identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicated that ants respond strongly to habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests, and both individual genera and ant community structure can be used as indicators of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor favoring litter dwelling and cold climate specialists. While ants may be very useful in identifying environmental stress in managed pine forests, adjustments must be made for seral stage when comparing impacted and unimpacted forests. PMID:20673195

  3. Impact of Forest Seral Stage on use of Ant Communities for Rapid Assessment of Terrestrial Ecosystem Health

    PubMed Central

    Wike, Lynn D.; Martin, F. Douglas; Paller, Michael H.; Nelson, Eric A.

    2010-01-01

    Bioassessment evaluates ecosystem health by using the responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the ecosystem. A variety of bioassessment methods have been applied to aquatic ecosystems; however, terrestrial methods are less advanced. The objective of this study was to examine baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a broader terrestrial bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at nine sites having four seral stages: clearcut, 5 year recovery, 15 year recovery, and mature stands. Soil and vegetation data were also collected at each site. Ants were identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicated that ants respond strongly to habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests, and both individual genera and ant community structure can be used as indicators of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor favoring litter dwelling and cold climate specialists. While ants may be very useful in identifying environmental stress in managed pine forests, adjustments must be made for seral stage when comparing impacted and unimpacted forests. PMID:20673195

  4. Antagonistic Interactions between the African Weaver Ant Oecophylla longinoda and the Parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Potentially Limits Suppression of the Invasive Mealybug Rastrococcus iceryoides

    PubMed Central

    Tanga, Chrysantus M.; Ekesi, Sunday; Govender, Prem; Nderitu, Peterson W.; Mohamed, Samira A.

    2015-01-01

    The ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille forms a trophobiotic relationship with the invasive mealybug Rastrococus iceryoides Green and promotes the latter’s infestations to unacceptable levels in the presence of their natural enemies. In this regard, the antagonistic interactions between the ant and the parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Girault were assessed under laboratory conditions. The percentage of parasitism of R. iceryoides by A. pseudococci was significantly higher on “ant-excluded” treatments (86.6% ± 1.27%) compared to “ant-tended” treatments (51.4% ± 4.13%). The low female-biased sex-ratio observed in the “ant-tended” treatment can be attributed to ants’ interference during the oviposition phase, which disrupted parasitoids’ ability to fertilize eggs. The mean foraging time, host handling time and number of successful oviposition in “ant-excluded” treatment were significantly higher compared to “ant-tended” treatments. When ant workers were allowed access to sterilized sand grains, mummified and unmummified R. iceryoides, they selectively removed the mummified mealybugs, indicating that they recognized the mummies as potential foods (1.2 ± 0.46 to 7.8 ± 1.17 mummies at 10 min intervals for 2 h). Percentage emergence from mummified R. iceryoides removed by the ants was significantly lower compared to emergence from mummies not exposed to ants. Although, host seeking parasitoids frequently evaded attacks, some were killed by the foraging ant workers (2.0 ± 0.38 to 6.0 ± 0.88 at 10 min intervals for 2 h). These results suggest for the first time that the presence of O. longinoda has a detrimental effect on the abundance, reproductive success and possibly oviposition strategy of female parasitoids, which might be a delimiting factor in field conditions if both natural enemies are to be recommended for use within the same agro-ecosystem. PMID:26703741

  5. Designing Invasion Resistant Plant Communities: The Role of Plant Functional Traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Establishing and maintaining weed-resistant plant communities is a central goal of sustainable invasive plant management programs. Plant community characteristics that improve invasion resistance, however, are poorly understood. Here we synthesize data from multiple studies and show traits related ...

  6. Distribution of endosymbiotic reproductive manipulators reflects invasion process and not reproductive system polymorphism in the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Rey, Olivier; Estoup, Arnaud; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Aebi, Alexandre; Duron, Olivier; Vavre, Fabrice; Foucaud, Julien

    2013-01-01

    Endosymbiotic reproductive manipulators may have drastic effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of their hosts. The prevalence of these endosymbionts reflects both their ability to manipulate their hosts and the history of the host populations. The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata displays a polymorphism in both its reproductive system (sexual versus clonal populations) and the invasive status of its populations (associated to a habitat shift). We first screened for the presence of a diverse array of reproductive parasites in sexual and clonal populations of W. auropunctata, as a means to investigate the role of endosymbionts in reproductive phenotypes. Wolbachia was the only symbiont found and we then focused on its worldwide distribution and diversity in natural populations of W. auropunctata. Using a multilocus scheme, we further characterized the Wolbachia strains present in these populations. We found that almost all the native sexual populations and only a few clonal populations are infected by Wolbachia. The presence of similar Wolbachia strains in both sexual and clonal populations indicates that they are probably not the cause of the reproductive system polymorphism. The observed pattern seems rather associated to the invasion process of W. auropunctata. In particular, the observed loss of Wolbachia in clonal populations, that recurrently emerged from sexual populations, likely resulted from natural heat treatment and/or relaxed selection during the shift in habitat associated to the invasion process.

  7. Strength in numbers: large and permanent colonies have higher queen oviposition rates in the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Mayr).

    PubMed

    Abril, Sílvia; Gómez, Crisanto

    2014-03-01

    Polydomy associated with unicoloniality is a common trait of invasive species. In the invasive Argentine ant, colonies are seasonally polydomous. Most follow a seasonal fission-fussion pattern: they disperse in the spring and summer and aggregate in the fall and winter. However, a small proportion of colonies do not migrate; instead, they inhabit permanent nesting sites. These colonies are large and highly polydomous. The aim of this study was to (1) search for differences in the fecundity of queens between mother colonies (large and permanent) and satellite colonies (small and temporal), (2) determine if queens in mother and satellite colonies have different diets to clarify if colony size influences social organization and queen feeding, and (3) examine if colony location relative to the invasion front results in differences in the queen's diet. Our results indicate that queens from mother nests are more fertile than queens from satellite nests and that colony location does not affect queen oviposition rate. Ovarian dissections suggest that differences in ovarian morphology are not responsible for the higher queen oviposition rate in mother vs. satellite nests, since there were no differences in the number and length of ovarioles in queens from the two types of colonies. In contrast, the higher δ(15)N values of queens from mother nests imply that greater carnivorous source intake accounts for the higher oviposition rates.

  8. Distribution of Endosymbiotic Reproductive Manipulators Reflects Invasion Process and Not Reproductive System Polymorphism in the Little Fire Ant Wasmannia auropunctata

    PubMed Central

    Rey, Olivier; Estoup, Arnaud; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Aebi, Alexandre; Duron, Olivier; Vavre, Fabrice; Foucaud, Julien

    2013-01-01

    Endosymbiotic reproductive manipulators may have drastic effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of their hosts. The prevalence of these endosymbionts reflects both their ability to manipulate their hosts and the history of the host populations. The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata displays a polymorphism in both its reproductive system (sexual versus clonal populations) and the invasive status of its populations (associated to a habitat shift). We first screened for the presence of a diverse array of reproductive parasites in sexual and clonal populations of W. auropunctata, as a means to investigate the role of endosymbionts in reproductive phenotypes. Wolbachia was the only symbiont found and we then focused on its worldwide distribution and diversity in natural populations of W. auropunctata. Using a multilocus scheme, we further characterized the Wolbachia strains present in these populations. We found that almost all the native sexual populations and only a few clonal populations are infected by Wolbachia. The presence of similar Wolbachia strains in both sexual and clonal populations indicates that they are probably not the cause of the reproductive system polymorphism. The observed pattern seems rather associated to the invasion process of W. auropunctata. In particular, the observed loss of Wolbachia in clonal populations, that recurrently emerged from sexual populations, likely resulted from natural heat treatment and/or relaxed selection during the shift in habitat associated to the invasion process. PMID:23505512

  9. Consequences of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), invasion on pollination of Euphorbia characias (L.) (Euphorbiaceae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blancafort, Xavier; Gómez, Crisanto

    2005-07-01

    We have studied the influence of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, on the pollination of Euphorbia characias, a deciduous insect-pollinated shrub. The observations were made in two adjacent areas (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile) in a Mediterranean cork-oak forest. In the invaded area, L. humile has replaced most of the native ants that climb up this plant's inflorescences. Five native ant species were detected in the non-invaded areas and only one in the invaded area. The number of visitors to infested inflorescences (1.54 ± 1.86 visitors/10 min observation) was lower than in non-infested inflorescences in the invaded area (3.74 ± 4.19 visitors/10'), and in the non-invaded areas (4.16 ± 5.00 visits/10'). For several species of flower-visiting insects, no differences were detected between the time spent in the flowers and the number of flowers visited in the two areas, except for Eristalis tenax, a dipteran which visited more flowers (15.2 ± 11.1 flowers visited/10') and spent more time (9.4 ± 5.8 sec) in the non-invaded area than in the invaded area (7.8 ± 8.2 flowers visited/10' and 5.3 ± 2.1 sec, respectively). The relative representation of insect orders in the two areas was not different. A significant reduction in fruit-set and seed-set was detected in the invaded area. These results suggest that the Argentine ant may greatly affect the reproductive success of components of the Mediterranean flora.

  10. Symbiotic mutualism with a community of opportunistic ants: protection, competition, and ant occupancy of the myrmecophyte Barteria nigritana (Passifloraceae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Dejean, Alain; Gibernau, Marc; Hossaert-McKey, Martine; McKey, Doyle

    2004-10-01

    Barteria nigritana is a myrmecophyte tree of Lower Guinea coastal vegetation. Unlike the more specialised B. fistulosa, which harbours a single host-specific mutualistic ant, B. nigritana is associated with several opportunistic ants. Such symbiotic, yet opportunistic, ant-plant associations have been little studied. On 113 clumps of B. nigritana, we censused ant associates and herbivores and compared herbivory on plants occupied by different ants. In addition to these correlative data, protection conferred by different ant species was compared by herbivore-placement experiments. Identity of ant associate changed predictably over plant ontogeny. Pheidole megacephala was restricted to very small plants; saplings were occupied by either Oecophylla longinoda or Crematogaster sp., and the latter species was the sole occupant of larger trees. Damage by caterpillars of the nymphalid butterfly Acraea zetes accounted for much of the herbivory to leaves. Ant species differed in the protection provided to hosts. While P. megacephala provided no significant protection, plants occupied by O. longinoda and Crematogaster sp. suffered less damage than did unoccupied plants or those occupied by P. megacephala. Furthermore, O. longinoda provided more effective protection than did Crematogaster sp. Herbivore-placement experiments confirmed these results. Workers of O. longinoda killed or removed all larval instars of A. zetes. Crematogaster preyed on only the two first larval instars, and P. megacephala preyed mainly on eggs, only rarely attacking the two first larval instars. Opportunistic ants provided significant protection to this relatively unspecialised myrmecophyte. The usual associate of mature trees was not the species that provided most protection.

  11. High temperature and temperature variation undermine future disease susceptibility in a population of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus.

    PubMed

    Pamminger, Tobias; Steier, Thomas; Tragust, Simon

    2016-06-01

    Environmental temperature and temperature variation can have strong effects on the outcome of host-parasite interactions. Whilst such effects have been reported for different host systems, long-term consequences of pre-infection temperatures on host susceptibility and immunity remain understudied. Here, we show that experiencing both a biologically relevant increase in temperature and temperature variation undermines future disease susceptibility of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus when challenged with a pathogen under a constant temperature regime. In light of the economic and ecological importance of many social insects, our results emphasise the necessity to take the hosts' temperature history into account when studying host-parasite interactions under both natural and laboratory conditions, especially in the face of global change. PMID:27206570

  12. High temperature and temperature variation undermine future disease susceptibility in a population of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus.

    PubMed

    Pamminger, Tobias; Steier, Thomas; Tragust, Simon

    2016-06-01

    Environmental temperature and temperature variation can have strong effects on the outcome of host-parasite interactions. Whilst such effects have been reported for different host systems, long-term consequences of pre-infection temperatures on host susceptibility and immunity remain understudied. Here, we show that experiencing both a biologically relevant increase in temperature and temperature variation undermines future disease susceptibility of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus when challenged with a pathogen under a constant temperature regime. In light of the economic and ecological importance of many social insects, our results emphasise the necessity to take the hosts' temperature history into account when studying host-parasite interactions under both natural and laboratory conditions, especially in the face of global change.

  13. High temperature and temperature variation undermine future disease susceptibility in a population of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pamminger, Tobias; Steier, Thomas; Tragust, Simon

    2016-06-01

    Environmental temperature and temperature variation can have strong effects on the outcome of host-parasite interactions. Whilst such effects have been reported for different host systems, long-term consequences of pre-infection temperatures on host susceptibility and immunity remain understudied. Here, we show that experiencing both a biologically relevant increase in temperature and temperature variation undermines future disease susceptibility of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus when challenged with a pathogen under a constant temperature regime. In light of the economic and ecological importance of many social insects, our results emphasise the necessity to take the hosts' temperature history into account when studying host-parasite interactions under both natural and laboratory conditions, especially in the face of global change.

  14. Molecular approach to describing a seed-based food web: the post-dispersal granivore community of an invasive plant

    PubMed Central

    Lundgren, Jonathan G; Saska, Pavel; Honěk, Alois

    2013-01-01

    Communities of post-dispersal granivores can shape the density and dispersion of exotic plants and invasive weeds, yet plant ecologists have a limited perception of the relative trophic linkages between a seed species and members of its granivore community. Dandelion seeds marked with Rabbit IgG were disseminated into replicated plots in the recipient habitat (South Dakota) and the native range (Czech Republic). Arthropods were collected in pitfall traps, and their guts were searched for the protein marker using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Seed dishes were placed in each plot, and dandelion seed removal rates were measured. The entire experiment was repeated five times over the dandelion flowering period. Gut analysis revealed that approximately 22% of specimens tested positive for the seed marker. A more diverse granivore community had trophic linkages to seeds than has been previously realized under field conditions. This community included taxa such as isopods, millipedes, weevils, rove beetles, and caterpillars, in addition to the traditionally recognized ants, crickets, and carabid beetles. Rarefaction and Chao analysis estimated approximately 16 and 27 species in the granivore communities of the Czech Republic and South Dakota, respectively. Synthesis: Generalist granivore communities are diverse and polyphagous, and are clearly important as a form of biotic resistance to invasive and weedy plants. These granivore communities can be managed to limit population growth of these pests. PMID:23789074

  15. Riparian reserves within oil palm plantations conserve logged forest leaf litter ant communities and maintain associated scavenging rates

    PubMed Central

    Gray, Claudia L; Lewis, Owen T; Chung, Arthur Y C; Fayle, Tom M

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of tropical forests is causing declines in many species and altering ecosystem functions. Maintaining forest-dependent species and processes in these landscapes may therefore limit the negative impacts of this economically important industry. Protecting riparian vegetation may be one such opportunity; forest buffer strips are commonly protected for hydrological reasons, but can also conserve functionally important taxa and the processes they support. We surveyed leaf litter ant communities within oil palm-dominated landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using protein baits. As the scavenging activity of ants influences important ecological characteristics such as nutrient cycling and soil structure, we quantified species-specific rates of bait removal to examine how this process may change across land uses and establish which changes in community structure underlie observed shifts in activity. Riparian reserves had similar ant species richness, community composition and scavenging rates to nearby continuous logged forest. Reserve width and vegetation structure did not affect ant species richness significantly. However, the number of foraging individuals decreased with increasing reserve width, and scavenging rate increased with vegetation complexity. Oil palm ant communities were characterized by significantly lower species richness than logged forest and riparian reserves and also by altered community composition and reduced scavenging rates. Reduced scavenging activity in oil palm was not explained by a reduction in ant species richness, nor by replacement of forest ant species by those with lower per species scavenging rates. There was also no significant effect of land use on the scavenging activity of the forest species that persisted in oil palm. Rather, changes in scavenging activity were best explained by a reduction in the mean rate of bait removal per individual ant across all species in the community

  16. Different Degrees of Plant Invasion Significantly Affect the Richness of the Soil Fungal Community

    PubMed Central

    Si, Chuncan; Liu, Xueyan; Wang, Congyan; Wang, Lei; Dai, Zhicong; Qi, Shanshan; Du, Daolin

    2013-01-01

    Several studies have shown that soil microorganisms play a key role in the success of plant invasion. Thus, ecologists have become increasingly interested in understanding the ecological effects of biological invasion on soil microbial communities given continuing increase in the effects of invasive plants on native ecosystems. This paper aims to provide a relatively complete depiction of the characteristics of soil microbial communities under different degrees of plant invasion. Rhizospheric soils of the notorious invasive plant Wedelia trilobata with different degrees of invasion (uninvaded, low-degree, and high-degree using its coverage in the invaded ecosystems) were collected from five discrete areas in Hainan Province, P. R. China. Soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microorganisms were assessed. Low degrees of W. trilobata invasion significantly increased soil pH values whereas high degrees of invasion did not significantly affected soil pH values. Moreover, the degree of W. trilobata invasion exerted significant effects on soil Ca concentration but did not significantly change other indices of soil physicochemical properties. Low and high degrees of W. trilobata invasion increased the richness of the soil fungal community but did not pose obvious effects on the soil bacterial community. W. trilobata invasion also exerted obvious effects on the community structure of soil microorganisms that take part in soil nitrogen cycling. These changes in soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microbial communities mediated by different degrees of W. trilobata invasion may present significant functions in further facilitating the invasion process. PMID:24392015

  17. Dominant meat ants affect only their specialist predator in an epigaeic arthropod community.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise

    2003-08-01

    Ants are thought to exert an important influence on the structure of arthropod assemblages through predation and competition. I examined the effect of a dominant ant, Iridomyrmex purpureus, on epigaeic arthropod assemblages on rock outcrops using an exclusion experiment. I compared arthropod assemblages on four replicate outcrops allocated to each of the following treatments: I. purpureus present; I. purpureus absent; I. purpureus excluded; and procedural control. Nests of I. purpureus were caged in summer 2001 and epigaeic arthropod assemblages were sampled at all sites using pitfall traps in autumn and spring 2001 and summer 2002. I also collected items from foraging workers to determine the diet of I. purpureus. Exclusion cages successfully reduced the abundance of I. purpureus workers in pitfall traps by more than 97%. Exclusion of I. purpureus did not affect the size distribution, biomass or abundance of arthropod predators or non-predatory arthropods, although the total biomass of ants was greater at sites with I. purpureus. Spider biomass, species richness, abundance and composition were also not affected by the presence of I. purpureus, although the I. purpureus mimic and specialist predator, Habronestes bradleyi, became less abundant at sites from which I. purpureus was excluded. Predation by I. purpureus on other arthropods may not have a significant effect on epigaeic arthropod communities, but the complex role of I. purpureus in this ecosystem and the high diversity of species belonging to multiple trophic levels may obscure its effects in this system.

  18. Effect of irradiation on queen survivorship and reproduction in the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta,(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a generic phytosanitary irradiation dose for ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants are common hitchhiker pests on traded agricultural commodities that could be controlled by postharvest irradiation treatment. We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren to determine the dose sufficient for its control. Virgin or fertile queens...

  19. Putative Native Source of the Invasive Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta in the U.S.A.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The ecological and evolutionary dynamics of newly introduced invasive species can best be understood by identifying the source population(s) from which they originated, as many species vary behaviorally, morphologically, and genetically across their native landscapes. We attempt to identify the sour...

  20. Ant community structure in citrus orchards in the mediterranean basin: impoverishment as a consequence of habitat homogeneity.

    PubMed

    Cerdá, X; Palacios, R; Retana, J

    2009-04-01

    This study analyzes the structure and composition of ant communities in citrus orchards in Catalonia (northeast Spain) and compares them with the ant fauna found in natural communities of the region. In the citrus orchards considered in this study, the most abundant species were Lasius niger and Pheidole pallidula, which are behaviorally dominant species. Two other dominant species, Linepithema humile and Tetramorium caespitum, were also abundant, although only in one orchard. Species richness and diversity in the studied orchards were low compared with natural communities: although in orchards, there were few species and low diversity values, in natural communities, the number of species was higher and diversity also increased. This reduction of species richness and diversity was not modified by edge effects: only light and local differences were found between the inner part of the orchards and the orchard margins, and differences among orchards were greater than differences between inner parts and edges. The activity peaks of the different ant species actively foraging on these citrus orchards were distributed throughout the whole activity period of ants. Overall, the composition of ant communities present in the citrus orchards of this study was extremely poor. This agrees with the fact that monocultures are ecosystems associated with an inevitable loss of biodiversity and abundance of insect populations. PMID:19389279

  1. Ant community structure in citrus orchards in the mediterranean basin: impoverishment as a consequence of habitat homogeneity.

    PubMed

    Cerdá, X; Palacios, R; Retana, J

    2009-04-01

    This study analyzes the structure and composition of ant communities in citrus orchards in Catalonia (northeast Spain) and compares them with the ant fauna found in natural communities of the region. In the citrus orchards considered in this study, the most abundant species were Lasius niger and Pheidole pallidula, which are behaviorally dominant species. Two other dominant species, Linepithema humile and Tetramorium caespitum, were also abundant, although only in one orchard. Species richness and diversity in the studied orchards were low compared with natural communities: although in orchards, there were few species and low diversity values, in natural communities, the number of species was higher and diversity also increased. This reduction of species richness and diversity was not modified by edge effects: only light and local differences were found between the inner part of the orchards and the orchard margins, and differences among orchards were greater than differences between inner parts and edges. The activity peaks of the different ant species actively foraging on these citrus orchards were distributed throughout the whole activity period of ants. Overall, the composition of ant communities present in the citrus orchards of this study was extremely poor. This agrees with the fact that monocultures are ecosystems associated with an inevitable loss of biodiversity and abundance of insect populations.

  2. Genetic Structure, Nestmate Recognition and Behaviour of Two Cryptic Species of the Invasive Big-Headed Ant Pheidole megacephala

    PubMed Central

    Fournier, Denis; Tindo, Maurice; Kenne, Martin; Mbenoun Masse, Paul Serge; Van Bossche, Vanessa; De Coninck, Eliane; Aron, Serge

    2012-01-01

    Background Biological invasions are recognized as a major cause of biodiversity decline and have considerable impact on the economy and human health. The African big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala is considered one of the world's most harmful invasive species. Methodology/Principal Findings To better understand its ecological and demographic features, we combined behavioural (aggression tests), chemical (quantitative and qualitative analyses of cuticular lipids) and genetic (mitochondrial divergence and polymorphism of DNA microsatellite markers) data obtained for eight populations in Cameroon. Molecular data revealed two cryptic species of P. megacephala, one inhabiting urban areas and the other rainforests. Urban populations belong to the same phylogenetic group than those introduced in Australia and in other parts of the world. Behavioural analyses show that the eight populations sampled make up four mutually aggressive supercolonies. The maximum distance between nests from the same supercolony was 49 km and the closest distance between two nests belonging to two different supercolonies was 46 m. The genetic data and chemical analyses confirmed the behavioural tests as all of the nests were correctly assigned to their supercolony. Genetic diversity appears significantly greater in Africa than in introduced populations in Australia; by contrast, urban and Australian populations are characterized by a higher chemical diversity than rainforest ones. Conclusions/Significance Overall, our study shows that populations of P. megacephala in Cameroon adopt a unicolonial social structure, like invasive populations in Australia. However, the size of the supercolonies appears several orders of magnitude smaller in Africa. This implies competition between African supercolonies and explains why they persist over evolutionary time scales. PMID:22371822

  3. Chemical basis of the synergism and antagonism in microbial communities in the nests of leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Schoenian, Ilka; Spiteller, Michael; Ghaste, Manoj; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which serves as a major food source. This symbiosis is threatened by microbial pathogens that can severely infect L. gongylophorus. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants, mainly Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, support the ants in defending their fungus gardens against infections by supplying antimicrobial and antifungal compounds. The ecological role of microorganisms in the nests of leaf-cutting ants can only be addressed in detail if their secondary metabolites are known. Here, we use an approach for the rapid identification of established bioactive compounds from microorganisms in ecological contexts by combining phylogenetic data, database searches, and liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-HR-MS) screening. Antimycins A1–A4, valinomycins, and actinomycins were identified in this manner from Streptomyces symbionts of leaf-cutting ants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging revealed the distribution of valinomycin directly on the integument of Acromyrmex echinatior workers. Valinomycins and actinomycins were also directly identified in samples from the waste of A. echinatior and A. niger leaf-cutting ants, suggesting that the compounds exert their antimicrobial and antifungal potential in the nests of leaf-cutting ants. Strong synergistic effects of the secondary meta-bolites produced by ant-associated Streptomyces were observed in the agar diffusion assay against Escovopsis weberi. Actinomycins strongly inhibit soil bacteria as well as other Streptomyces and Pseudonocardia symbionts. The antifungal antimycins are not only active against pathogenic fungi but also the garden fungus L. gongylophorus itself. In conclusion, secondary metabolites of microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants contribute to shaping the microbial communities within the nests of leaf-cutting ants. PMID:21245311

  4. The gut bacterial communities associated with lab-raised and field-collected ants of Camponotus fragilis (Formicidae: Formicinae).

    PubMed

    He, Hong; Wei, Cong; Wheeler, Diana E

    2014-09-01

    Camponotus is the second largest ant genus and known to harbor the primary endosymbiotic bacteria of the genus Blochmannia. However, little is known about the effect of diet and environment changes on the gut bacterial communities of these ants. We investigated the intestinal bacterial communities in the lab-raised and field-collected ants of Camponotus fragilis which is found in the southwestern United States and northern reaches of Mexico. We determined the difference of gut bacterial composition and distribution among the crop, midgut, and hindgut of the two types of colonies. Number of bacterial species varied with the methods of detection and the source of the ants. Lab-raised ants yielded 12 and 11 species using classical microbial culture methods and small-subunit rRNA genes (16S rRNAs) polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis, respectively. Field-collected ants yielded just 4 and 1-3 species using the same methods. Most gut bacterial species from the lab-raised ants were unevenly distributed among the crop, midgut, and hindgut, and each section had its own dominant bacterial species. Acetobacter was the prominent bacteria group in crop, accounting for about 55 % of the crop clone library. Blochmannia was the dominant species in midgut, nearly reaching 90 % of the midgut clone library. Pseudomonas aeruginosa dominated the hindgut, accounting for over 98 % of the hindgut clone library. P. aeruginosa was the only species common to all three sections. A comparison between lab-raised and field-collected ants, and comparison with other species, shows that gut bacterial communities vary with local environment and diet. The bacterial species identified here were most likely commensals with little effect on their hosts or mild pathogens deleterious to colony health.

  5. Impacts of intensive logging on the trophic organisation of ant communities in a biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, David P; Newton, Rob J; Vun Khen, Chey; Bottrell, Simon H; Hamer, Keith C

    2013-01-01

    Trophic organisation defines the flow of energy through ecosystems and is a key component of community structure. Widespread and intensifying anthropogenic disturbance threatens to disrupt trophic organisation by altering species composition and relative abundances and by driving shifts in the trophic ecology of species that persist in disturbed ecosystems. We examined how intensive disturbance caused by selective logging affects trophic organisation in the biodiversity hotspot of Sabah, Borneo. Using stable nitrogen isotopes, we quantified the positions in the food web of 159 leaf-litter ant species in unlogged and logged rainforest and tested four predictions: (i) there is a negative relationship between the trophic position of a species in unlogged forest and its change in abundance following logging, (ii) the trophic positions of species are altered by logging, (iii) disturbance alters the frequency distribution of trophic positions within the ant assemblage, and (iv) disturbance reduces food chain length. We found that ant abundance was 30% lower in logged forest than in unlogged forest but changes in abundance of individual species were not related to trophic position, providing no support for prediction (i). However, trophic positions of individual species were significantly higher in logged forest, supporting prediction (ii). Consequently, the frequency distribution of trophic positions differed significantly between unlogged and logged forest, supporting prediction (iii), and food chains were 0.2 trophic levels longer in logged forest, the opposite of prediction (iv). Our results demonstrate that disturbance can alter trophic organisation even without trophically-biased changes in community composition. Nonetheless, the absence of any reduction in food chain length in logged forest suggests that species-rich arthropod food webs do not experience trophic downgrading or a related collapse in trophic organisation despite the disturbance caused by logging

  6. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements and past and present distribution within its native range.

    PubMed

    Chifflet, L; Rodriguero, M S; Calcaterra, L A; Rey, O; Dinghi, P A; Baccaro, F B; Souza, J L P; Follett, P; Confalonieri, V A

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. Therefore, phylogeographic studies of invasive species within their native ranges are useful to understand invasion biology in an evolutionary context. Here we integrated classical and Bayesian phylogeographic methods using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers with a palaeodistribution modelling approach, to infer the phylogeographic history of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata across its native distribution in South America. We discuss our results in the context of the recent establishment of this mostly tropical species in the Mediterranean region. Our Bayesian phylogeographic analysis suggests that the common ancestor of the two main clades of W. auropunctata occurred in central Brazil during the Pliocene. Clade A would have differentiated northward and clade B southward, followed by a secondary contact beginning about 380,000 years ago in central South America. There were differences in the most suitable habitats among clades when considering three distinct climatic periods, suggesting that genetic differentiation was accompanied by changes in niche requirements, clade A being a tropical lineage and clade B a subtropical and temperate lineage. Only clade B reached more southern latitudes, with a colder climate than that of northern South America. This is concordant with the adaptation of this originally tropical ant species to temperate climates prior to its successful establishment in the Mediterranean region. This study highlights the usefulness of exploring the evolutionary history of invasive species within their native ranges to better understand biological invasions.

  7. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements and past and present distribution within its native range.

    PubMed

    Chifflet, L; Rodriguero, M S; Calcaterra, L A; Rey, O; Dinghi, P A; Baccaro, F B; Souza, J L P; Follett, P; Confalonieri, V A

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. Therefore, phylogeographic studies of invasive species within their native ranges are useful to understand invasion biology in an evolutionary context. Here we integrated classical and Bayesian phylogeographic methods using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers with a palaeodistribution modelling approach, to infer the phylogeographic history of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata across its native distribution in South America. We discuss our results in the context of the recent establishment of this mostly tropical species in the Mediterranean region. Our Bayesian phylogeographic analysis suggests that the common ancestor of the two main clades of W. auropunctata occurred in central Brazil during the Pliocene. Clade A would have differentiated northward and clade B southward, followed by a secondary contact beginning about 380,000 years ago in central South America. There were differences in the most suitable habitats among clades when considering three distinct climatic periods, suggesting that genetic differentiation was accompanied by changes in niche requirements, clade A being a tropical lineage and clade B a subtropical and temperate lineage. Only clade B reached more southern latitudes, with a colder climate than that of northern South America. This is concordant with the adaptation of this originally tropical ant species to temperate climates prior to its successful establishment in the Mediterranean region. This study highlights the usefulness of exploring the evolutionary history of invasive species within their native ranges to better understand biological invasions. PMID:26780687

  8. Integrating physiology, population dynamics and climate to make multi-scale predictions for the spread of an invasive insect: the Argentine ant at Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hartley, Stephen; Krushelnycky, Paul D.; Lester, Philip J.

    2010-01-01

    Mechanistic models for predicting species’ distribution patterns present particular advantages and challenges relative to models developed from statistical correlations between distribution and climate. They can be especially useful for predicting the range of invasive species whose distribution has not yet reached equilibrium. Here, we illustrate how a physiological model of development for the invasive Argentine ant can be connected to differences in micro-site suitability, population dynamics and climatic gradients; processes operating at quite different spatial scales. Our study is located in the subalpine shrubland of Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, where the spread of Argentine ants Linepithema humile has been documented for the past twenty-five years. We report four main results. First, at a microsite level, the accumulation of degree-days recorded in potential ant nest sites under bare ground or rocks was significantly greater than under a groundcover of grassy vegetation. Second, annual degree-days measured where population boundaries have not expanded (456-521 degree-days), were just above the developmental requirements identified from earlier laboratory studies (445 degree-days above 15.98C). Third, rates of population expansion showed a strong linear relationship with annual degree-days. Finally, an empirical relationship between soil degree-days and climate variables mapped at a broader scale predicts the potential for future range expansion of Argentine ants at Haleakala, particularly to the west of the lower colony and the east of the upper colony. Variation in the availability of suitable microsites, driven by changes in vegetation cover and ultimately climate, provide a hierarchical understanding of the distribution of Argentine ants close to their cold-wet limit of climatic tolerances. We conclude that the integration of physiology, population dynamics and climate mapping holds much promise for making more robust predictions about

  9. Differentiating between effects of invasion and diversity: impacts of aboveground plant communities on belowground fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Kivlin, Stephanie N; Hawkes, Christine V

    2011-01-01

    Exotic plant species can affect soil microbial communities with the potential for community and ecosystem feedbacks. Yet, separating the effects of exotics from confounded changes in plant community diversity still remains a challenge. We focused on how plant diversity and native or exotic life history affected root fungi because of their significant roles in community and ecosystem processes. Specifically, we examined how fungi colonizing plant roots were affected by plant richness (one, two or four species) replicated across a range of plant community mixtures (natives, exotics, native-exotic mixtures). Fungal biomass inside roots was affected independently by plant richness and mixture, while root fungal community composition was affected only by plant richness. Extraradical networks also increased in size with plant richness. By contrast, plant biomass was a function of plant mixture, with natives consistently smaller than exotics and native-exotic mixtures intermediate. Plant invasions may have an impact on the belowground community primarily through their effects on diversity, at least in the short-term. Disentangling the effects of diversity and invasion on belowground microbial communities can help us to understand both the controllers of belowground resilience and mechanisms of successful colonization and spread of exotic plants.

  10. Biodiversity assessment in incomplete inventories: leaf litter ant communities in several types of Bornean rain forest.

    PubMed

    Pfeiffer, Martin; Mezger, Dirk

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity assessment of tropical taxa is hampered by their tremendous richness, which leads to large numbers of singletons and incomplete inventories in survey studies. Species estimators can be used for assessment of alpha diversity, but calculation of beta diversity is hampered by pseudo-turnover of species in undersampled plots. To assess the impact of unseen species, we investigated different methods, including an unbiased estimator of Shannon beta diversity that was compared to biased calculations. We studied alpha and beta diversity of a diverse ground ant assemblage from the Southeast Asian island of Borneo in different types of tropical forest: diperocarp forest, alluvial forest, limestone forest and heath forests. Forests varied in plant composition, geology, flooding regimes and other environmental parameters. We tested whether forest types differed in species composition and if species turnover was a function of the distance between plots at different spatial scales. As pseudo-turnover may bias beta diversity we hypothesized a large effect of unseen species reducing beta diversity. We sampled 206 ant species (25% singletons) from ten subfamilies and 55 genera. Diversity partitioning among the four forest types revealed that whereas alpha species richness and alpha Shannon diversity were significantly smaller than expected, beta-diversity for both measurements was significantly higher than expected by chance. This result was confirmed when we used the unbiased estimation of Shannon diversity: while alpha diversity was much higher, beta diversity differed only slightly from biased calculations. Beta diversity as measured with the Chao-Sørensen or Morisita-Horn Index correlated with distance between transects and between sample points, indicating a distance decay of similarity between communities. We conclude that habitat heterogeneity has a high influence on ant diversity and species turnover in tropical sites and that unseen species may have only

  11. Biodiversity Assessment in Incomplete Inventories: Leaf Litter Ant Communities in Several Types of Bornean Rain Forest

    PubMed Central

    Pfeiffer, Martin; Mezger, Dirk

    2012-01-01

    Biodiversity assessment of tropical taxa is hampered by their tremendous richness, which leads to large numbers of singletons and incomplete inventories in survey studies. Species estimators can be used for assessment of alpha diversity, but calculation of beta diversity is hampered by pseudo-turnover of species in undersampled plots. To assess the impact of unseen species, we investigated different methods, including an unbiased estimator of Shannon beta diversity that was compared to biased calculations. We studied alpha and beta diversity of a diverse ground ant assemblage from the Southeast Asian island of Borneo in different types of tropical forest: diperocarp forest, alluvial forest, limestone forest and heath forests. Forests varied in plant composition, geology, flooding regimes and other environmental parameters. We tested whether forest types differed in species composition and if species turnover was a function of the distance between plots at different spatial scales. As pseudo-turnover may bias beta diversity we hypothesized a large effect of unseen species reducing beta diversity. We sampled 206 ant species (25% singletons) from ten subfamilies and 55 genera. Diversity partitioning among the four forest types revealed that whereas alpha species richness and alpha Shannon diversity were significantly smaller than expected, beta-diversity for both measurements was significantly higher than expected by chance. This result was confirmed when we used the unbiased estimation of Shannon diversity: while alpha diversity was much higher, beta diversity differed only slightly from biased calculations. Beta diversity as measured with the Chao-Sørensen or Morisita-Horn Index correlated with distance between transects and between sample points, indicating a distance decay of similarity between communities. We conclude that habitat heterogeneity has a high influence on ant diversity and species turnover in tropical sites and that unseen species may have only

  12. Bacterial Invasion Dynamics in Zebrafish Gut Microbial Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Logan, Savannah; Jemielita, Matthew; Wiles, Travis; Schlomann, Brandon; Hammer, Brian; Guillemin, Karen; Parthasarathy, Raghuveer

    Microbial communities residing in the vertebrate intestine play an important role in host development and health. These communities must be in part shaped by interactions between microbial species as they compete for resources in a physically constrained system. To better understand these interactions, we use light sheet microscopy and zebrafish as a model organism to image established gut microbial communities as they are invaded by robustly-colonizing challengers. We demonstrate that features of the challenger, including motility and spatial distribution, impact success in invasion and in outcompeting the original community. We also show that physical characteristics of the host, such as the motility of the gut, play important roles in mediating inter-species competition. Finally, we examine the influence of the contact-dependent type VI secretion system (T6SS), which is used by specific bacteria to cause cell lysis by injecting toxic effector proteins into competitors. Our findings provide insights into the determinants of microbial success in the complex ecosystems found in the gut.

  13. Trophic network architecture of root-associated bacterial communities determines pathogen invasion and plant health.

    PubMed

    Wei, Zhong; Yang, Tianjie; Friman, Ville-Petri; Xu, Yangchun; Shen, Qirong; Jousset, Alexandre

    2015-01-01

    Host-associated bacterial communities can function as an important line of defence against pathogens in animals and plants. Empirical evidence and theoretical predictions suggest that species-rich communities are more resistant to pathogen invasions. Yet, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we experimentally test how the underlying resource competition networks of resident bacterial communities affect invasion resistance to the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in microcosms and in tomato plant rhizosphere. We find that bipartite resource competition networks are better predictors of invasion resistance compared with resident community diversity. Specifically, communities with a combination of stabilizing configurations (low nestedness and high connectance), and a clear niche overlap with the pathogen, reduce pathogen invasion success, constrain pathogen growth within invaded communities and have lower levels of diseased plants in greenhouse experiments. Bacterial resource competition network characteristics can thus be important in explaining positive diversity-invasion resistance relationships in bacterial rhizosphere communities. PMID:26400552

  14. Trophic network architecture of root-associated bacterial communities determines pathogen invasion and plant health

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Zhong; Yang, Tianjie; Friman, Ville-Petri; Xu, Yangchun; Shen, Qirong; Jousset, Alexandre

    2015-01-01

    Host-associated bacterial communities can function as an important line of defence against pathogens in animals and plants. Empirical evidence and theoretical predictions suggest that species-rich communities are more resistant to pathogen invasions. Yet, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we experimentally test how the underlying resource competition networks of resident bacterial communities affect invasion resistance to the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in microcosms and in tomato plant rhizosphere. We find that bipartite resource competition networks are better predictors of invasion resistance compared with resident community diversity. Specifically, communities with a combination of stabilizing configurations (low nestedness and high connectance), and a clear niche overlap with the pathogen, reduce pathogen invasion success, constrain pathogen growth within invaded communities and have lower levels of diseased plants in greenhouse experiments. Bacterial resource competition network characteristics can thus be important in explaining positive diversity–invasion resistance relationships in bacterial rhizosphere communities. PMID:26400552

  15. Two invasive acacia species secure generalist pollinators in invaded communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montesinos, Daniel; Castro, Sílvia; Rodríguez-Echeverría, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Exotic entomophilous plants need to establish effective pollinator interactions in order to succeed after being introduced into a new community, particularly if they are obligatory outbreeders. By establishing these novel interactions in the new non-native range, invasive plants are hypothesised to drive changes in the composition and functioning of the native pollinator community, with potential impacts on the pollination biology of native co-flowering plants. We used two different sites in Portugal, each invaded by a different acacia species, to assess whether two native Australian trees, Acacia dealbata and Acacia longifolia, were able to recruit pollinators in Portugal, and whether the pollinator community visiting acacia trees differed from the pollinator communities interacting with native co-flowering plants. Our results indicate that in the invaded range of Portugal both acacia species were able to establish novel mutualistic interactions, predominantly with generalist pollinators. For each of the two studied sites, only two other co-occurring native plant species presented partially overlapping phenologies. We observed significant differences in pollinator richness and visitation rates among native and non-native plant species, although the study of β diversity indicated that only the native plant Lithodora fruticosa presented a differentiated set of pollinator species. Acacias experienced a large number of visits by numerous pollinator species, but massive acacia flowering resulted in flower visitation rates frequently lower than those of the native co-flowering species. We conclude that the establishment of mutualisms in Portugal likely contributes to the effective and profuse production of acacia seeds in Portugal. Despite the massive flowering of A. dealbata and A. longifolia, native plant species attained similar or higher visitation rates than acacias.

  16. Two invasive acacia species secure generalist pollinators in invaded communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montesinos, Daniel; Castro, Sílvia; Rodríguez-Echeverría, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Exotic entomophilous plants need to establish effective pollinator interactions in order to succeed after being introduced into a new community, particularly if they are obligatory outbreeders. By establishing these novel interactions in the new non-native range, invasive plants are hypothesised to drive changes in the composition and functioning of the native pollinator community, with potential impacts on the pollination biology of native co-flowering plants. We used two different sites in Portugal, each invaded by a different acacia species, to assess whether two native Australian trees, Acacia dealbata and Acacia longifolia, were able to recruit pollinators in Portugal, and whether the pollinator community visiting acacia trees differed from the pollinator communities interacting with native co-flowering plants. Our results indicate that in the invaded range of Portugal both acacia species were able to establish novel mutualistic interactions, predominantly with generalist pollinators. For each of the two studied sites, only two other co-occurring native plant species presented partially overlapping phenologies. We observed significant differences in pollinator richness and visitation rates among native and non-native plant species, although the study of β diversity indicated that only the native plant Lithodora fruticosa presented a differentiated set of pollinator species. Acacias experienced a large number of visits by numerous pollinator species, but massive acacia flowering resulted in flower visitation rates frequently lower than those of the native co-flowering species. We conclude that the establishment of mutualisms in Portugal likely contributes to the effective and profuse production of acacia seeds in Portugal. Despite the massive flowering of A. dealbata and A. longifolia, native plant species attained similar or higher visitation rates than acacias.

  17. Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) as back-seat drivers of localized ant decline in urban habitats.

    PubMed

    Salyer, Adam; Bennett, Gary W; Buczkowski, Grzegorz A

    2014-01-01

    Invasive species and habitat disturbance threaten biodiversity worldwide by modifying ecosystem performance and displacing native organisms. Similar homogenization impacts manifest locally when urbanization forces native species to relocate or reinvade perpetually altered habitat. This study investigated correlations between ant richness and abundance in response to urbanization and the nearby presence of invasive ant species, odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile), within its native region. Surveying localized ant composition within natural, semi-natural, and urban habitat supported efforts to determine whether T. sessile appear to be primary (drivers) threats as instigators or secondary (passengers) threats as inheritors of indigenous ant decline. Sampling 180 sites, evenly split between all habitats with and without T. sessile present, yielded 45 total species. Although urbanization and T. sessile presence factors were significantly linked to ant decline, their interaction correlated to the greatest reduction of total ant richness (74%) and abundance (81%). Total richness appeared to decrease from 27 species to 18 when natural habitat is urbanized and from 18 species to 7 with T. sessile present in urban plots. Odorous house ant presence minimally influenced ant communities within natural and semi-natural habitat, highlighting the importance of habitat alteration and T. sessile presence interactions. Results suggest urbanization releases T. sessile from unknown constraints by decreasing ant richness and competition. Within urban environment, T. sessile are pre-adapted to quickly exploit new resources and grow to supercolony strength wherein T. sessile drive adjacent biodiversity loss. Odorous house ants act as passengers and drivers of ecological change throughout different phases of urban 'invasion'. This progression through surviving habitat alteration, exploiting new resources, thriving, and further reducing interspecific competition supports a "back

  18. Alaska Melilotus invasions: Distribution, origin, and susceptibility of plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conn, J.S.; Beattie, K.L.; Shephard, M.A.; Carlson, M.L.; Lapina, I.; Hebert, M.; Gronquist, R.; Densmore, R.; Rasy, M.

    2008-01-01

    Melilotus alba and M. officinalis were introduced to Alaska in 1913 as potential forage crops. These species have become naturalized and are now invading large, exotic plant-free regions of Alaska. We determined distributions of M. alba and M. officinalis in Alaska from surveys conducted each summer from 2002 to 2005. Melilotus alba and M. officinalis occurred at 721 and 205 sites, respectively (39,756 total sites surveyed). The northward limit for M. alba and M. officinalis was 67.15??N and 64.87??N, respectively. Both species were strictly associated with soil disturbance. Melilotus alba extended no farther than 15 m from road edges except where M. alba on roadsides met river floodplains and dispersed downriver (Matanuska and Nenana Rivers). Melilotus has now reached the Tanana River, a tributary of the Yukon River. Populations on floodplains were most extensive on braided sections. On the Nenana River, soil characteristics did not differ between where M. alba was growing versus similar areas where it had not yet reached. The pH of river soils (7.9-8.3) was higher than highway soils (7.3). Upland taiga plant communities grow on acid soils which may protect them from invasion by Melilotus, which prefer alkaline soils; however, early succession communities on river floodplains are susceptible because soils are alkaline. ?? 2008 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  19. Long-term field trial to control the invasive Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with synthetic trail pheromone.

    PubMed

    Nishisue, K; Sunamura, E; Tanaka, Y; Sakamoto, H; Suzuki, S; Fukumoto, T; Terayama, M; Tatsuki, S

    2010-10-01

    Previous short-term experiments showed that trail following behavior of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), can be disrupted by a high concentration of synthetic trail pheromone component (Z)-9-hexadecenal. In this study, a long-term field trial was conducted in 100-m2 plots of house gardens in an urban area of Japan to see whether the control effect on Argentine ants can be obtained by permeating synthetic trail pheromone from dispensers. The dispensers were placed in the experimental plots during the ant's active season (April-November) for 2 yr with monthly renewal. To estimate Argentine ant population density, foraging activity of Argentine ants in the study plots was monitored by monthly bait surveys. Throughout the study period, Argentine ant foraging activity was suppressed in the presence of the dispensers, presumably via trail forming inhibition. In contrast, the level of foraging activity was not different between treatment and no-treatment plots when the dispensers were temporarily removed, suggesting that treatment with pheromone dispensers did not suppress Argentine ant density in the treatment plots. Population decline may be expected with larger-scale treatment that covers a significant portion of the ant colony or with improvement in the potency of the disruptant. PMID:21061980

  20. Spartina alterniflora invasion alters soil microbial community composition and microbial respiration following invasion chronosequence in a coastal wetland of China

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Wen; Jeelani, Nasreen; Leng, Xin; Cheng, Xiaoli; An, Shuqing

    2016-01-01

    The role of exotic plants in regulating soil microbial community structure and activity following invasion chronosequence remains unclear. We investigated soil microbial community structure and microbial respiration following Spartina alterniflora invasion in a chronosequence of 6-, 10-, 17-, and 20-year-old by comparing with bare flat in a coastal wetland of China. S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased soil moisture and salinity, the concentrations of soil water-soluble organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon (MBC), the quantities of total and various types of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), the fungal:bacterial PLFAs ratio and cumulative microbial respiration compared with bare flat. The highest MBC, gram-negative bacterial and saturated straight-chain PLFAs were found in 10-year-old S. alterniflora soil, while the greatest total PLFAs, bacterial and gram-positive bacterial PLFAs were found in 10- and 17-year-old S. alterniflora soils. The monounsaturated:branched PLFAs ratio declined, and cumulative microbial respiration on a per-unit-PLFAs increased following S. alterniflora invasion in the chronosequence. Our results suggest that S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased the biomass of soil various microbial groups and microbial respiration compared to bare flat soil by increasing soil available substrate, and modifying soil physiochemical properties. Soil microbial community reached the most enriched condition in the 10-year-old S. alterniflora community. PMID:27241173

  1. Spartina alterniflora invasion alters soil microbial community composition and microbial respiration following invasion chronosequence in a coastal wetland of China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wen; Jeelani, Nasreen; Leng, Xin; Cheng, Xiaoli; An, Shuqing

    2016-01-01

    The role of exotic plants in regulating soil microbial community structure and activity following invasion chronosequence remains unclear. We investigated soil microbial community structure and microbial respiration following Spartina alterniflora invasion in a chronosequence of 6-, 10-, 17-, and 20-year-old by comparing with bare flat in a coastal wetland of China. S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased soil moisture and salinity, the concentrations of soil water-soluble organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon (MBC), the quantities of total and various types of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), the fungal:bacterial PLFAs ratio and cumulative microbial respiration compared with bare flat. The highest MBC, gram-negative bacterial and saturated straight-chain PLFAs were found in 10-year-old S. alterniflora soil, while the greatest total PLFAs, bacterial and gram-positive bacterial PLFAs were found in 10- and 17-year-old S. alterniflora soils. The monounsaturated:branched PLFAs ratio declined, and cumulative microbial respiration on a per-unit-PLFAs increased following S. alterniflora invasion in the chronosequence. Our results suggest that S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased the biomass of soil various microbial groups and microbial respiration compared to bare flat soil by increasing soil available substrate, and modifying soil physiochemical properties. Soil microbial community reached the most enriched condition in the 10-year-old S. alterniflora community. PMID:27241173

  2. Spartina alterniflora invasion alters soil microbial community composition and microbial respiration following invasion chronosequence in a coastal wetland of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Wen; Jeelani, Nasreen; Leng, Xin; Cheng, Xiaoli; An, Shuqing

    2016-05-01

    The role of exotic plants in regulating soil microbial community structure and activity following invasion chronosequence remains unclear. We investigated soil microbial community structure and microbial respiration following Spartina alterniflora invasion in a chronosequence of 6-, 10-, 17-, and 20-year-old by comparing with bare flat in a coastal wetland of China. S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased soil moisture and salinity, the concentrations of soil water-soluble organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon (MBC), the quantities of total and various types of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), the fungal:bacterial PLFAs ratio and cumulative microbial respiration compared with bare flat. The highest MBC, gram-negative bacterial and saturated straight-chain PLFAs were found in 10-year-old S. alterniflora soil, while the greatest total PLFAs, bacterial and gram-positive bacterial PLFAs were found in 10- and 17-year-old S. alterniflora soils. The monounsaturated:branched PLFAs ratio declined, and cumulative microbial respiration on a per-unit-PLFAs increased following S. alterniflora invasion in the chronosequence. Our results suggest that S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased the biomass of soil various microbial groups and microbial respiration compared to bare flat soil by increasing soil available substrate, and modifying soil physiochemical properties. Soil microbial community reached the most enriched condition in the 10-year-old S. alterniflora community.

  3. Ecosystem engineers modulate exotic invasions in riparian plant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corenblit, D.; Tabacchi, E.; Steiger, J.; Gonzales, E.; Planty-Tabacchi, A. M.

    2012-04-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and invasibility of exotic plant species within different environments and at different spatial scales is still being discussed amongst scientists. In this study, patterns of native and exotic plant species richness and cover were examined in relation with ecosystem engineer effects of pioneer vegetation within the active tract of the Mediterranean gravel bed river Tech, South France. The floristic composition was characterized according to two distinct vegetation types corresponding to two habitats with contrasted conditions: (i) open and exposed alluvial bars dominated by herbaceous communities and (ii) islands and river margins partly stabilized by ecosystem engineer plants, disconnected from annual hydrogeomorphic disturbances, and covered by woody vegetation. A significant positive correlation between exotic and native plant species richness and cover was observed for the herbaceous and the woody types, indicating that both native and exotic richness benefit from the prevailing environmental conditions. However, significant differences in native and exotic specific richness and cover were found between these two vegetation types. Higher values of total species richness and Shannon diversity of native and exotic species were attained within the herbaceous vegetation type compared to the woody type. These differences may be related to changes in local exposure to hydrogeomorphic disturbances driven by engineer plant species, and to vegetation succession. A lower exotic cover within the woody vegetation type compared to the herbaceous type suggested an increase of resistance to invasion by exotic species during the biogeomorphic succession. The engineer effects of woody vegetation resulted in a decrease of alpha (α) diversity at patch scale but, in parallel, caused an increase in gamma (γ) diversity at the scale of the studied river segment. Our study corroborates recent investigations that support the theory of biotic

  4. Changes in soil bacterial communities induced by the invasive plant Pennisetum setaceum in a semiarid environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodriguez-Caballero, Gema; Caravaca, Fuensanta; del Mar Alguacil, María; Fernández-López, Manuel; José Fernández-González, Antonio; García-Orenes, Fuensanta; Roldán, Antonio

    2016-04-01

    Invasive alien species are considered as a global threat being among the main causes of biodiversity loss. Plant invasions have been extensively studied from different disciplines with the purpose of identifying predictor traits of invasiveness and finding solutions. However, less is known about the implication of the rhizosphere microbiota in these processes, even when it is well known the importance of the interaction between plant rhizosphere and microbial communities. The objective of this study was to determine whether native and invasive plants support different bacterial communities in their rhizospheres and whether there are bacterial indicator species that might be contributing to the invasion process of these ecosystems. We carried out a study in five independent locations under Mediterranean semiarid conditions, where the native Hyparrhenia hirta is being displaced by Pennisetum setaceum, an aggressive invasive Poaceae and soil bacterial communities were amplified and 454-pyrosequenced. Changes in the composition and structure of the bacterial communities, owing to the invasive status of the plant, were detected when the richness and alpha-diversity estimators were calculated as well as when we analyzed the PCoA axes scores. The Indicator Species Analysis results showed a higher number of indicators for invaded communities at all studied taxonomic levels. In conclusion, the effect of the invasiveness and its interaction with the soil location has promoted shifts in the rhizosphere bacterial communities which might be facilitating the invader success in these ecosystems.

  5. Invasion Is a Community Affair: Clandestine Followers in the Bacterial Community Associated to Green Algae, Caulerpa racemosa, Track the Invasion Source

    PubMed Central

    Aires, Tania; Serrão, Ester A.; Kendrick, Gary; Duarte, Carlos M.; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie

    2013-01-01

    Biological invasions rank amongst the most deleterious components of global change inducing alterations from genes to ecosystems. The genetic characteristics of introduced pools of individuals greatly influence the capacity of introduced species to establish and expand. The recently demonstrated heritability of microbial communities associated to individual genotypes of primary producers makes them a potentially essential element of the evolution and adaptability of their hosts. Here, we characterized the bacterial communities associated to native and non-native populations of the marine green macroalga Caulerparacemosa through pyrosequencing, and explored their potential role on the strikingly invasive trajectory of their host in the Mediterranean. The similarity of endophytic bacterial communities from the native Australian range and several Mediterranean locations confirmed the origin of invasion and revealed distinct communities associated to a second Mediterranean variety of C. racemosa long reported in the Mediterranean. Comparative analysis of these two groups demonstrated the stability of the composition of bacterial communities through the successive steps of introduction and invasion and suggested the vertical transmission of some major bacterial OTUs. Indirect inferences on the taxonomic identity and associated metabolism of bacterial lineages showed a striking consistency with sediment upheaval conditions associated to the expansion of their invasive host and to the decline of native species. These results demonstrate that bacterial communities can be an effective tracer of the origin of invasion and support their potential role in their eukaryotic host’s adaptation to new environments. They put forward the critical need to consider the 'meta-organism' encompassing both the host and associated micro-organisms, to unravel the origins, causes and mechanisms underlying biological invasions. PMID:23874625

  6. Mechanisms of competitive displacement of native ant fauna by invading Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) populations.

    PubMed

    Garnas, Jeffrey; Groden, Eleanor; Drummond, Francis A

    2014-12-01

    Exotic ants have become invasive in many regions around the world, with variable ecological impacts. Postinvasion, native ant communities are often found to be depauperate, though the causes of this apparent lack of coexistence are rarely well known. Myrmica rubra (L.), a Palearctic Myrmecine ant, is currently expanding its range as an invasive in North America. This aggressive ant forms dense, patchy local infestations and appears to aggressively displace native ant fauna. We measured behavioral interactions and rates of recruitment in experimental field assays pitting native foragers against captive colonies of M. rubra at tuna-jelly or aphid baits in uninfested areas of Mt. Desert Island, ME. Behavioral interactions were idiosyncratic with respect to the native opponent, but M. rubra generally showed significantly higher levels of recruitment, aggression, and displacement of native foragers. As with other invasive ant species shown to have broken the "dominance-discovery trade-off," M. rubra was consistently faster to discover baits and disproportionately displaced native foragers, providing a plausible proximate mechanism for native ant exclusion. Finally, we surveyed ant recruitment at baits for 24 h in August 2004 at four sites with varying M. rubra abundance but found little evidence of temporal niche partitioning. Taken together, these results indicate competitive superiority by M. rubra with respect to native ant communities of the northeastern North America and suggest direct aggression and competitive exclusion at food resources can lead to local native displacement.

  7. Curvilinear effects of invasive plants on plant diversity: plant community invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shan-Shan; Dai, Zhi-Cong; Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants.

  8. Curvilinear Effects of Invasive Plants on Plant Diversity: Plant Community Invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata

    PubMed Central

    Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants. PMID:25426856

  9. Curvilinear effects of invasive plants on plant diversity: plant community invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shan-Shan; Dai, Zhi-Cong; Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants. PMID:25426856

  10. The relation between circadian asynchrony, functional redundancy, and trophic performance in tropical ant communities.

    PubMed

    Houadria, Mickal; Blüthgen, Nico; Salas-Lopez, Alex; Schmitt, Mona-Isabel; Arndt, Johanna; Schneider, Eric; Orivel, Jérôme; Menzel, Florian

    2016-01-01

    The diversity-stability relationship has been under intense scrutiny for the past decades, and temporal asynchrony is recognized as an important aspect of ecosystem stability. In contrast to relatively well-studied interannual and seasonal asynchrony, few studies investigate the role of circadian cycles for ecosystem stability. Here, we studied multifunctional redundancy of diurnal and nocturnal ant communities in four tropical rain forest sites. We analyzed how it was influenced by species richness, functional performance, and circadian asynchrony. In two neotropical sites, species richness and functional redundancy were lower at night. In contrast, these parameters did not differ in the two paleotropical sites we studied. Circadian asynchrony between species was pronounced in the neotropical sites, and increased circadian functional redundancy. In general, species richness positively affected functional redundancy, but the effect size depended on the temporal and spatial breadth of the species with highest functional performance. Our analysis shows that high levels of trophic performance were only reached through the presence of such high-performing species, but not by even contributions of multiple, less-efficient species. Thus, these species can increase current functional performance, but reduce overall functional redundancy. Our study highlights that diurnal and nocturnal ecosystem properties of the very same habitat can markedly differ in terms of species richness and functional redundancy. Consequently, like the need to study multiple ecosystem functions, multiple periods of the circadian cycle need to be assessed in order to fully understand the diversity-stability relationship in an ecosystem. PMID:27008791

  11. MONITORING CHANGES IN STRESSED ECOSYSTEMS USING SPATIAL PATTERNS OF ANT COMMUNITIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    We examined the feasibility of using changes in spatial patterns of ants-distribution on experimental plots as an indicator of response to environmental stress. We produced contour maps based on relative abundances of the three most common genera of ants based on pit-fall trap ca...

  12. Highly similar microbial communities are shared among related and trophically similar ant species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants dominate many terrestrial ecosystems, yet we know little about their nutritional physiology and ecology. While traditionally viewed as predators and scavengers, recent isotopic studies revealed that many dominant ant species are functional herbivores. As with other insects with nitrogen-poor di...

  13. CO2 efflux from subterranean nests of ant communities in a seasonal tropical forest, Thailand.

    PubMed

    Hasin, Sasitorn; Ohashi, Mizue; Yamada, Akinori; Hashimoto, Yoshiaki; Tasen, Wattanachai; Kume, Tomonori; Yamane, Seiki

    2014-10-01

    Many ant species construct subterranean nests. The presence of their nests may explain soil respiration "hot spots", an important factor in the high CO2 efflux from tropical forests. However, no studies have directly measured CO2 efflux from ant nests. We established 61 experimental plots containing 13 subterranean ant species to evaluate the CO2 efflux from subterranean ant nests in a tropical seasonal forest, Thailand. We examined differences in nest CO2 efflux among ant species. We determined the effects of environmental factors on nest CO2 efflux and calculated an index of nest structure. The mean CO2 efflux from nests was significantly higher than those from the surrounding soil in the wet and dry seasons. The CO2 efflux was species-specific, showing significant differences among the 13 ant species. The soil moisture content significantly affected nest CO2 efflux, but there was no clear relationship between nest CO2 efflux and nest soil temperature. The diameter of the nest entrance hole affected CO2 efflux. However, there was no significant difference in CO2 efflux rates between single-hole and multiple-hole nests. Our results suggest that in a tropical forest ecosystem the increase in CO2 efflux from subterranean ant nests is caused by species-specific activity of ants, the nest soil environment, and nest structure.

  14. A two-part measure of degree of invasion for cross-community comparisons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Guo, Q.; Symstad, A.

    2008-01-01

    Invasibility is a critical feature of ecological communities, especially for management decisions. To date, invasibility has been measured in numerous ways. Although most researchers have used the richness (or number) of exotic species as a direct or indirect measure of community invasibility, others have used alternative measures such as the survival, density, or biomass of either a single or all exotic species. These different measures, even when obtained from the same communities, have produced inconsistent results and have made comparisons among communities difficult. Here, we propose a measure of the degree of invasion (DI) of a community as a surrogate for community invasibility. The measure is expressed as 2 independent components: exotic proportion of total species richness and exotic proportion of total species abundance (biomass or cover). By including richness and abundance, the measure reflects that the factors that control invasibility affect both of these components. Expressing exotic richness and abundance relative to the richness and abundance of all species in a community makes comparisons across communities of different sizes and resource availability possible and illustrates the importance of dominance of exotic species relative to natives, which is a primary management concern associated with exotic species.

  15. Fungal communities in gardens of the leafcutter ant Atta cephalotes in forest and cabruca agrosystems of southern Bahia State (Brazil).

    PubMed

    Reis, Bárbara Monique dos Santos; Silva, Aline; Alvarez, Martín Roberto; Oliveira, Tássio Brito de; Rodrigues, Andre

    2015-12-01

    Leaf-cutting ants interact with several fungi in addition to the fungal symbiont they cultivate for food. Here, we assessed alien fungal communities in colonies of Atta cephalotes. Fungus garden fragments were sampled from colonies in the Atlantic Rainforest and in a cabruca agrosystem in the state of Bahia (Brazil) in two distinct periods to evaluate whether differences in nest habitat influence the diversity of fungi in the ant colonies. We recovered a total of 403 alien fungi isolates from 628 garden fragments. The prevalent taxa found in these samples were Escovopsis sp. (26 %), Escovopsioides nivea (24 %), and Trichoderma spirale (10.9 %). Fungal diversity was similar between the colonies sampled in both areas suggesting that ants focus on reducing loads of alien fungi in the fungus gardens instead of avoiding specific fungi. However, fungal taxa composition differed between colonies sampled in the two areas and between the sampling periods. These differences are likely explained by the availability of plant substrates available for foraging over habitats and periods. Ordination analysis further supported that sampling period was the main attribute for community structuring but also revealed that additional factors may explain the structuring of fungal communities in colonies of A. cephalotes. PMID:26615740

  16. The long-term effects of invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) on instream macroinvertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Mathers, Kate L; Chadd, Richard P; Dunbar, Michael J; Extence, Chris A; Reeds, Jake; Rice, Stephen P; Wood, Paul J

    2016-06-15

    Non-native species represent a significant threat to indigenous biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. It is widely acknowledged that invasive crayfish species may be instrumental in modifying benthic invertebrate community structure, but there is limited knowledge regarding the temporal and spatial extent of these effects within lotic ecosystems. This study investigates the long term changes to benthic macroinvertebrate community composition following the invasion of signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, into English rivers. Data from long-term monitoring sites on 7 rivers invaded by crayfish and 7 rivers where signal crayfish were absent throughout the record (control sites) were used to examine how invertebrate community composition and populations of individual taxa changed as a result of invasion. Following the detection of non-native crayfish, significant shifts in invertebrate community composition were observed at invaded sites compared to control sites. This pattern was strongest during autumn months but was also evident during spring surveys. The observed shifts in community composition following invasion were associated with reductions in the occurrence of ubiquitous Hirudinea species (Glossiphonia complanata and Erpobdella octoculata), Gastropoda (Radix spp.), Ephemeroptera (Caenis spp.), and Trichoptera (Hydropsyche spp.); although variations in specific taxa affected were evident between regions and seasons. Changes in community structure were persistent over time with no evidence of recovery, suggesting that crayfish invasions represent significant perturbations leading to permanent changes in benthic communities. The results provide fundamental knowledge regarding non-native crayfish invasions of lotic ecosystems required for the development of future management strategies.

  17. The long-term effects of invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) on instream macroinvertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Mathers, Kate L; Chadd, Richard P; Dunbar, Michael J; Extence, Chris A; Reeds, Jake; Rice, Stephen P; Wood, Paul J

    2016-06-15

    Non-native species represent a significant threat to indigenous biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. It is widely acknowledged that invasive crayfish species may be instrumental in modifying benthic invertebrate community structure, but there is limited knowledge regarding the temporal and spatial extent of these effects within lotic ecosystems. This study investigates the long term changes to benthic macroinvertebrate community composition following the invasion of signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, into English rivers. Data from long-term monitoring sites on 7 rivers invaded by crayfish and 7 rivers where signal crayfish were absent throughout the record (control sites) were used to examine how invertebrate community composition and populations of individual taxa changed as a result of invasion. Following the detection of non-native crayfish, significant shifts in invertebrate community composition were observed at invaded sites compared to control sites. This pattern was strongest during autumn months but was also evident during spring surveys. The observed shifts in community composition following invasion were associated with reductions in the occurrence of ubiquitous Hirudinea species (Glossiphonia complanata and Erpobdella octoculata), Gastropoda (Radix spp.), Ephemeroptera (Caenis spp.), and Trichoptera (Hydropsyche spp.); although variations in specific taxa affected were evident between regions and seasons. Changes in community structure were persistent over time with no evidence of recovery, suggesting that crayfish invasions represent significant perturbations leading to permanent changes in benthic communities. The results provide fundamental knowledge regarding non-native crayfish invasions of lotic ecosystems required for the development of future management strategies. PMID:26974569

  18. Invasiveness does not predict impact: response of native land snail communities to plant invasions in riparian habitats.

    PubMed

    Horáčková, Jitka; Juřičková, Lucie; Šizling, Arnošt L; Jarošík, Vojtěch; Pyšek, Petr

    2014-01-01

    Studies of plant invasions rarely address impacts on molluscs. By comparing pairs of invaded and corresponding uninvaded plots in 96 sites in floodplain forests, we examined effects of four invasive alien plants (Impatiens glandulifera, Fallopia japonica, F. sachalinensis, and F.× bohemica) in the Czech Republic on communities of land snails. The richness and abundance of living land snail species were recorded separately for all species, rare species listed on the national Red List, and small species with shell size below 5 mm. The significant impacts ranged from 16-48% reduction in snail species numbers, and 29-90% reduction in abundance. Small species were especially prone to reduction in species richness by all four invasive plant taxa. Rare snails were also negatively impacted by all plant invaders, both in terms of species richness or abundance. Overall, the impacts on snails were invader-specific, differing among plant taxa. The strong effect of I. glandulifera could be related to the post-invasion decrease in abundance of tall nitrophilous native plant species that are a nutrient-rich food source for snails in riparian habitats. Fallopia sachalinensis had the strongest negative impact of the three knotweeds, which reflects differences in their canopy structure, microhabitat humidity and litter decomposition. The ranking of Fallopia taxa according to the strength of impacts on snail communities differs from ranking by their invasiveness, known from previous studies. This indicates that invasiveness does not simply translate to impacts of invasion and needs to be borne in mind by conservation and management authorities. PMID:25238059

  19. Invasiveness Does Not Predict Impact: Response of Native Land Snail Communities to Plant Invasions in Riparian Habitats

    PubMed Central

    Horáčková, Jitka; Juřičková, Lucie; Šizling, Arnošt L.; Pyšek, Petr

    2014-01-01

    Studies of plant invasions rarely address impacts on molluscs. By comparing pairs of invaded and corresponding uninvaded plots in 96 sites in floodplain forests, we examined effects of four invasive alien plants (Impatiens glandulifera, Fallopia japonica, F. sachalinensis, and F.×bohemica) in the Czech Republic on communities of land snails. The richness and abundance of living land snail species were recorded separately for all species, rare species listed on the national Red List, and small species with shell size below 5 mm. The significant impacts ranged from 16–48% reduction in snail species numbers, and 29–90% reduction in abundance. Small species were especially prone to reduction in species richness by all four invasive plant taxa. Rare snails were also negatively impacted by all plant invaders, both in terms of species richness or abundance. Overall, the impacts on snails were invader-specific, differing among plant taxa. The strong effect of I. glandulifera could be related to the post-invasion decrease in abundance of tall nitrophilous native plant species that are a nutrient-rich food source for snails in riparian habitats. Fallopia sachalinensis had the strongest negative impact of the three knotweeds, which reflects differences in their canopy structure, microhabitat humidity and litter decomposition. The ranking of Fallopia taxa according to the strength of impacts on snail communities differs from ranking by their invasiveness, known from previous studies. This indicates that invasiveness does not simply translate to impacts of invasion and needs to be borne in mind by conservation and management authorities. PMID:25238059

  20. Exotic weevil invasion increases floral herbivore community density, function, and impact on a native plant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Consumer communities are being re-arranged through unprecedented rates of human-mediated invasions and extinctions. Such changes in consumer composition and diversity potentially alter pressure and impact on resource populations. Although insect herbivore invasions are common, and exotic herbivores...

  1. Correlates of gut community composition across an ant species (Cephalotes varians) elucidate causes and consequences of symbiotic variability.

    PubMed

    Hu, Yi; Łukasik, Piotr; Moreau, Corrie S; Russell, Jacob A

    2014-03-01

    Insect guts are often colonized by multispecies microbial communities that play integral roles in nutrition, digestion and defence. Community composition can differ across host species with increasing dietary and genetic divergence, yet gut microbiota can also vary between conspecific hosts and across an individual's lifespan. Through exploration of such intraspecific variation and its correlates, molecular profiling of microbial communities can generate and test hypotheses on the causes and consequences of symbioses. In this study, we used 454 pyrosequencing and TRFLP to achieve these goals in an herbivorous ant, Cephalotes varians, exploring variation in bacterial communities across colonies, populations and workers reared on different diets. C. varians bacterial communities were dominated by 16 core species present in over two-thirds of the sampled colonies. Core species comprised multiple genotypes, or strains and hailed from ant-specific clades containing relatives from other Cephalotes species. Yet three were detected in environmental samples, suggesting the potential for environmental acquisition. In spite of their prevalence and long-standing relationships with Cephalotes ants, the relative abundance and genotypic composition of core species varied across colonies. Diet-induced plasticity is a likely cause, but only pollen-based diets had consistent effects, altering the abundance of two types of bacteria. Additional factors, such as host age, genetics, chance or natural selection, must therefore shape natural variation. Future studies on these possibilities and on bacterial contributions to the use of pollen, a widespread food source across Cephalotes, will be important steps in developing C. varians as a model for studying widespread social insect-bacteria symbioses.

  2. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Richard R; Pineda, Rosana P; Barney, Jacob N; Nilsen, Erik T; Barrett, John E; Williams, Mark A

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum), another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica), and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima). The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that nitrogen

  3. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Richard R; Pineda, Rosana P; Barney, Jacob N; Nilsen, Erik T; Barrett, John E; Williams, Mark A

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum), another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica), and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima). The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that nitrogen

  4. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Richard R.; Pineda, Rosana P.; Barney, Jacob N.; Nilsen, Erik T.; Barrett, John E.; Williams, Mark A.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum), another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica), and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima). The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that nitrogen

  5. Plant Community Responses to Simultaneous Changes in Temperature, Nitrogen Availability, and Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Gornish, Elise S.; Miller, Thomas E.

    2015-01-01

    Background Increasing rates of change in climate have been observed across the planet and have contributed to the ongoing range shifts observed for many species. Although ecologists are now using a variety of approaches to study how much and through what mechanisms increasing temperature and nutrient pollution may influence the invasions inherent in range shifts, accurate predictions are still lacking. Methods and Results In this study, we conducted a factorial experiment, simultaneously manipulating warming, nitrogen addition and introduction of Pityopsis aspera, to determine how range-shifting species affect a plant community. We quantified the resident community using ordination scores, then used structural equation modeling to examine hypotheses related to how plants respond to a network of experimental treatments and environmental variables. Variation in soil pH explained plant community response to nitrogen addition in the absence of invasion. However, in the presence of invasion, the direct effect of nitrogen on the community was negligible and soil moisture was important for explaining nitrogen effects. We did not find effects of warming on the native plant community in the absence of invasion. In the presence of invasion, however, warming had negative effects on functional richness directly and invasion and herbivory explained the overall positive effect of warming on the plant community. Conclusions and Significance This work highlights the variation in the biotic and abiotic factors responsible for explaining independent and collective climate change effects over a short time scale. Future work should consider the complex and non-additive relationships among factors of climate change and invasion in order to capture more ecologically relevant features of our changing environment. PMID:25879440

  6. The Importance of Using Multiple Approaches for Identifying Emerging Invasive Species: The Case of the Rasberry Crazy Ant in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Brady, Seán G.; Kallal, Robert J.; LaPolla, John S.

    2012-01-01

    In the past decade, Houston, Texas has been virtually overrun by an unidentified ant species, the sudden appearance and enormous population sizes and densities of which have received national media attention. The Rasberry Crazy Ant, as it has become known due to its uncertain species status, has since spread to neighboring states and is still a major concern to pest control officials. Previous attempts at identifying this species have resulted in widely different conclusions in regards to its native range, source, and biology. We identify this highly invasive pest species as Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) using morphometric data measured from 14 characters, molecular sequence data consisting of 4,669 aligned nucleotide sites from six independent loci and comparison with type specimens. This identification will allow for the study and control of this emerging pest species to proceed unencumbered by taxonomic uncertainty. We also show that N. fulva has a much wider distribution than previously thought and has most likely invaded all of the Gulf Coast states. PMID:23056657

  7. Investigating Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Community Structure

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred

    2008-01-01

    In this article, the author presents a field study project that explores factors influencing forest community structure and lifts the veil off of "plant blindness." This ecological study consists of three laboratories: (1) preliminary field trip to the study site; (2) plant survey; and (3) analyzing plant community structure with descriptive…

  8. Eco-evolutionary community dynamics: covariation between diversity and invasibility across temperature gradients.

    PubMed

    Stegen, James C; Enquist, Brian J; Ferrière, Régis

    2012-10-01

    Understanding biodiversity gradients is a long-standing challenge, and progress requires theory unifying ecology and evolution. Here, we unify concepts related to the speed of evolution, the influence of species richness on diversification, and niche-based coexistence. We focus on the dynamics, through evolutionary time, of community invasibility and species richness across a broad thermal gradient. In our framework, the evolution of body size influences the ecological structure and dynamics of a trophic network, and organismal metabolism ties temperature to eco-evolutionary processes. The framework distinguishes ecological invasibility (governed by ecological interactions) from evolutionary invasibility (governed by local ecology and constraints imposed by small phenotypic effects of mutation). The model yields four primary predictions: (1) ecological invasibility declines through time and with increasing temperature; (2) average evolutionary invasibility across communities increases and then decreases through time as the richness-temperature gradient flattens; (3) in the early stages of diversification, richness and evolutionary invasibility both increase with increasing temperature; and (4) at equilibrium, richness does not vary with temperature, yet evolutionary invasibility decreases with increasing temperature. These predictions emerge from the "evolutionary-speed" hypothesis, which attempts to account for latitudinal species richness gradients by invoking faster biological rates in warmer, tropical regions. The model contrasts with predictions from other richness-gradient hypotheses, such as "niche conservatism" and "species energy." Empirically testing our model's predictions should help distinguish among these hypotheses. PMID:22976016

  9. Benthic community responses to macroalgae invasions in seagrass beds: Diversity, isotopic niche and food web structure at community level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deudero, S.; Box, A.; Vázquez-Luis, M.; Arroyo, N. L.

    2014-04-01

    Trophic paths between species are a useful tool for analysing the impact of species invasions of a biotic community. Species invasions produce changes at trophic level and diversity shifts by replacing native species with species of similar ecological niche. This study focused on the effects of macroalgal invasions on seagrass ecosystems. We conducted two - year bimonthly sampling of a pristine Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow and dead matte colonized by three Caulerpa species bimonthly. The largest changes in faunal composition were found in meadows colonized by Caulerpa prolifera, where major differences in infaunal taxonomic distinctness were apparent. On the other hand, the infaunal community was quite similar between the two invasive Caulerpa species (Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosa). The isotopic niche based on the main trophic guilds established using stable isotope signatures at community level resulted in a highly compacted and 15N-enriched C. prolifera food web structure, indicating high overlap of food source utilization among faunal components, which is typical of degraded systems. Conversely, the P. oceanica ecosystem presented the most complex food web, while the influence of the 2 invasive species were similar. An attempt to reconstruct the food web at each vegetated habitat revealed high trophic linkages among the different trophic levels with a continuous transition among them by the various trophic guilds suggesting an adaptation response of the different organisms to the new habitat forming species.

  10. Negative effects of an exotic grass invasion on small-mammal communities.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Eric D; Sharp, Tiffanny R; Larsen, Randy T; Knight, Robert N; Slater, Steven J; McMillan, Brock R

    2014-01-01

    Exotic invasive species can directly and indirectly influence natural ecological communities. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is non-native to the western United States and has invaded large areas of the Great Basin. Changes to the structure and composition of plant communities invaded by cheatgrass likely have effects at higher trophic levels. As a keystone guild in North American deserts, granivorous small mammals drive and maintain plant diversity. Our objective was to assess potential effects of invasion by cheatgrass on small-mammal communities. We sampled small-mammal and plant communities at 70 sites (Great Basin, Utah). We assessed abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community, diversity of the plant community, and the percentage of cheatgrass cover and shrub species. Abundance and diversity of the small-mammal community decreased with increasing abundance of cheatgrass. Similarly, cover of cheatgrass remained a significant predictor of small-mammal abundance even after accounting for the loss of the shrub layer and plant diversity, suggesting that there are direct and indirect effects of cheatgrass. The change in the small-mammal communities associated with invasion of cheatgrass likely has effects through higher and lower trophic levels and has the potential to cause major changes in ecosystem structure and function.

  11. Thermotolerance adaptation to human-modified habitats occurs in the native range of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata before long-distance dispersal

    PubMed Central

    Foucaud, Julien; Rey, Olivier; Robert, Stéphanie; Crespin, Laurent; Orivel, Jérôme; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Jourdan, Hervé; Kenne, Martin; Masse, Paul Serge Mbenoun; Tindo, Maurice; Vonshak, Merav; Estoup, Arnaud

    2013-01-01

    Key evolutionary events associated with invasion success are traditionally thought to occur in the introduced, rather than the native range of species. In the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata, however, a shift in reproductive system has been demonstrated within the native range, from the sexual non-dominant populations of natural habitats to the clonal dominant populations of human-modified habitats. Because abiotic conditions of human- modified habitats are hotter and dryer, we performed lab experiments on workers from a set of native and introduced populations, to investigate whether these ecological and genetic transitions were accompanied by a change in thermotolerance and whether such changes occurred before establishment in the introduced range. Thermotolerance levels were higher in native populations from human-modified habitats than in native populations from natural habitats, but were similar in native and introduced populations from human-modified habitats. Differences in thermotolerance could not be accounted for by differences in body size. A scenario based on local adaptation in the native range before introduction in remote areas represents the most parsimonious hypothesis to account for the observed phenotypic pattern. These findings highlight the importance of human land use in explaining major contemporary evolutionary changes. PMID:23789036

  12. Global Invasion History of the Tropical Fire Ant, Solenopsis geminata: A Stowaway on the First Global Trade Routes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Biological invasions are largely thought to be contemporary, having recently increased sharply in the wake of globalization. However, human commerce had already become global in scope by the mid-16th century, when the Spanish connected the New World with Europe and Asia via their Manila galleon and ...

  13. Invertebrate community composition differs between invasive herb alligator weed and native sedges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassett, Imogen E.; Paynter, Quentin; Beggs, Jacqueline R.

    2012-05-01

    Chemical and/or architectural differences between native and exotic plants may influence invertebrate community composition. According to the enemy release hypothesis, invasive weeds should host fewer and less specialised invertebrates than native vegetation. Invertebrate communities were compared on invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides (alligator weed) and native sedges (Isolepis prolifer and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani) in a New Zealand lake. A. philoxeroides is more architecturally and chemically similar to I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. Lower invertebrate abundance, richness and proportionally fewer specialists were predicted on A. philoxeroides compared to native sedges, but with greatest differences between A. philoxeroides and S. tabernaemontani. A. philoxeroides is more architecturally and chemically similar to I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. Invertebrate abundance showed taxa-specific responses, rather than consistently lower abundance on A. philoxeroides. Nevertheless, as predicted, invertebrate fauna of A. philoxeroides was more similar to that of I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. The prediction of a depauperate native fauna on A. philoxeroides received support from some but not all taxa. All vegetation types hosted generalist-dominated invertebrate communities with simple guild structures. The enemy release hypothesis thus had minimal ability to predict patterns in this system. Results suggest the extent of architectural and chemical differences between native and invasive vegetation may be useful in predicting the extent to which they will host different invertebrate communities. However, invertebrate ecology also affects whether invertebrate taxa respond positively or negatively to weed invasion. Thus, exotic vegetation may support distinct invertebrate communities despite similar overall invertebrate abundance to native vegetation.

  14. THE POTENTIAL FOR RESOURCE-BASED NICHES TO CONTRIBUTE TO INVASION RESISTANCE IN A SEMI-ARID PLANT COMMUNITY

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Understanding the properties that make plant communities less invasible is a central goal of land managers. Emerging theories of invasibility predict that invasion resistance will be directly tied to the ability of the resident vegetation to maintain low levels of a limiting resource. Partitioning o...

  15. Habitat fragmentation, tree diversity, and plant invasion interact to structure forest caterpillar communities.

    PubMed

    Stireman, John O; Devlin, Hilary; Doyle, Annie L

    2014-09-01

    Habitat fragmentation and invasive species are two of the most prominent threats to terrestrial ecosystems. Few studies have examined how these factors interact to influence the diversity of natural communities, particularly primary consumers. Here, we examined the effects of forest fragmentation and invasion of exotic honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii, Caprifoliaceae) on the abundance and diversity of the dominant forest herbivores: woody plant-feeding Lepidoptera. We systematically surveyed understory caterpillars along transects in 19 forest fragments over multiple years in southwestern Ohio and evaluated how fragment area, isolation, tree diversity, invasion by honeysuckle and interactions among these factors influence species richness, diversity and abundance. We found strong seasonal variation in caterpillar communities, which responded differently to fragmentation and invasion. Abundance and richness increased with fragment area, but these effects were mitigated by high levels of honeysuckle, tree diversity, landscape forest cover, and large recent changes in area. Honeysuckle infestation was generally associated with decreased caterpillar abundance and diversity, but these effects were strongly dependent on other fragment traits. Effects of honeysuckle on abundance were moderated when fragment area, landscape forest cover and tree diversity were high. In contrast, negative effects of honeysuckle invasion on caterpillar diversity were most pronounced in fragments with high tree diversity and large recent increases in area. Our results illustrate the complex interdependencies of habitat fragmentation, plant diversity and plant invasion in their effects on primary consumers and emphasize the need to consider these processes in concert to understand the consequences of anthropogenic habitat change for biodiversity. PMID:25015121

  16. Sampling and Complementarity Effects of Plant Diversity on Resource Use Increases the Invasion Resistance of Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Dan H.; Wang, Ping; Zhang, Wei Z.; Yuan, Yue; Li, Bin; Wang, Jiang

    2015-01-01

    Background Although plant diversity is postulated to resist invasion, studies have not provided consistent results, most of which were ascribed to the influences of other covariate environmental factors. Methodology/Principal Findings To explore the mechanisms by which plant diversity influences community invasibility, an experiment was conducted involving grassland sites varying in their species richness (one, two, four, eight, and sixteen species). Light interception efficiency and soil resources (total N, total P, and water content) were measured. The number of species, biomass, and the number of seedlings of the invading species decreased significantly with species richness. The presence of Patrinia scabiosaefolia Fisch. ex Trev. and Mosla dianthera (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxburgh) Maxim. significantly increased the resistance of the communities to invasion. A structural equation model showed that the richness of planted species had no direct and significant effect on invasion. Light interception efficiency had a negative effect on the invasion whereas soil water content had a positive effect. In monocultures, Antenoron filiforme (Thunb.) Rob. et Vaut. showed the highest light interception efficiency and P. scabiosaefolia recorded the lowest soil water content. With increased planted-species richness, a greater percentage of pots showed light use efficiency higher than that of A. filiforme and a lower soil water content than that in P. scabiosaefolia. Conclusions/Significance The results of this study suggest that plant diversity confers resistance to invasion, which is mainly ascribed to the sampling effect of particular species and the complementarity effect among species on resources use. PMID:26556713

  17. Short-term invasibility patterns in burnt and unburnt experimental Mediterranean grassland communities of varying diversities.

    PubMed

    Dimitrakopoulos, Panayiotis G; Galanidis, Alexandros; Siamantziouras, Akis-Stavros D; Troumbis, Andreas Y

    2005-04-01

    This paper reports the findings of a short-term natural invasibility field study in constructed Mediterranean herbaceous communities of varying diversities, under a fire treatment. Three components of invasibility, i.e. species richness, density and biomass of invaders, have been monitored in burnt and unburnt experimental plots with resident diversity ranging from monocultures to 18-species mixtures. In general, species richness, density and biomass of invaders decreased significantly with the increase of resident species richness. Furthermore, the density and biomass of invading species were significantly influenced by the species composition of resident communities. Although aboveground biomass, leaf area index, canopy height and percent bare ground of the resident communities explained a significant part of the variation in the success of invading species, these covariates did not fully explain the effects of resident species richness. Fire mainly influenced invasibility via soil nutrient levels. The effect of fire on observed invasibility patterns seems to be less important than the effects of resident species richness. Our results demonstrate the importance of species richness and composition in controlling the initial stages of plant invasions in Mediterranean grasslands but that there was a lack of interaction with the effects of fire disturbance. PMID:15711823

  18. Complex impacts of an invasive omnivore and native consumers on stream communities in California and Hawaii.

    PubMed

    Klose, Kristie; Cooper, Scott D

    2013-04-01

    The effects of invasive species on native communities often depend on the characteristics of the recipient community and on the food habits of the invasive species, becoming complicated when the invader is omnivorous. In field enclosure experiments, we assessed the direct and interactive effects of an invasive omnivorous crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and either native herbivorous snails (Physella gyrina) or shrimp (Atyoida bisulcata) on stream communities in California and Hawaii, respectively. Based on literature data and the characteristics of each study site, we predicted that crayfish would affect primarily algal-based trophic linkages in an open California stream but detritus-based trophic linkages in a shaded Hawaiian stream, with trophic cascades mediated through crayfish effects on primary consumers being observed in both systems. As predicted, crayfish in California directly reduced periphyton, filamentous algae, sediment, and snail levels, but generated a cascade by decreasing snail densities and increasing periphyton biomass. Contrary to prediction, crayfish did not reduce total invertebrate biomass. As predicted, crayfish in Hawaii reduced leaf litter, filamentous algae, and benthic invertebrate biomass. Contrary to our predictions, however, a trophic cascade was not observed because shrimp did not affect periphyton levels, crayfish did not reduce shrimp abundance, and crayfish had greater negative impacts on filamentous algae than did shrimp. Our findings highlight that the same invasive species can generate different effects on disparate systems, probably as mediated through the availability of different food types, flexibility in the invasive species' food habits, and complex pathways of trophic interaction.

  19. Associations between an Invasive Plant (Taeniatherum caput-medusae, Medusahead) and Soil Microbial Communities

    PubMed Central

    Gornish, Elise S.; Fierer, Noah; Barberán, Albert

    2016-01-01

    Understanding plant-microbe relationships can be important for developing management strategies for invasive plants, particularly when these relationships interact with underlying variables, such as habitat type and seedbank density, to mediate control efforts. In a field study located in California, USA, we investigated how soil microbial communities differ across the invasion front of Taeniatherum caput-medusae (medusahead), an annual grass that has rapidly invaded most of the western USA. Plots were installed in habitats where medusahead invasion is typically successful (open grassland) and typically not successful (oak woodland). Medusahead was seeded into plots at a range of densities (from 0–50,000 seeds/m2) to simulate different levels of invasion. We found that bacterial and fungal soil community composition were significantly different between oak woodland and open grassland habitats. Specifically, ectomycorrhizal fungi were more abundant in oak woodlands while arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant pathogens were more abundant in open grasslands. We did not find a direct effect of medusahead density on soil microbial communities across the simulated invasion front two seasons after medusahead were seeded into plots. Our results suggest that future medusahead management initiatives might consider plant-microbe interactions. PMID:27685330

  20. Honey Ants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Conway, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)

  1. Dominance and species co-occurrence in highly diverse ant communities: a test of the interstitial hypothesis and discovery of a three-tiered competition cascade.

    PubMed

    Arnan, Xavier; Gaucherel, Cédric; Andersen, Alan N

    2011-07-01

    The role of competitive exclusion is problematic in highly diverse ant communities where exceptional species richness occurs in the face of exceptionally high levels of behavioural dominance. A possible non-niche-based explanation is that the abundance of behaviourally dominant ants is highly patchy at fine spatial scales, and subordinate species act as insinuators by preferentially occupying these gaps--we refer to this as the interstitial hypothesis. To test this hypothesis, we examined fine-scale patterns of ant abundance and richness according to a three-tiered competition hierarchy (dominants, subdominants and subordinates) in an Australian tropical savanna using pitfall traps spaced at 2 m intervals. Despite the presence of gaps in the fine-scale abundance of individual species, the combined abundance of dominant ants (species of Iridomyrmex, Papyirus and Oecophylla) was relatively uniform. There was therefore little or no opportunity for subordinate species to preferentially occupy gaps in the foraging ranges of dominant species, and we found no relationship between the abundance of dominant ants and nondominant species richness at fine spatial scales. However, we found a negative relationship between subdominant and subordinate ants, a negative relationship between dominant and subdominant ants, and a positive relationship between dominant and subordinate ants. These results suggest that dominant species actually promote species richness by neutralizing the effects of subdominant species on subordinate species. Such indirect interactions have very close parallels with three-tiered trophic cascades in food webs, and we propose a "competition cascade" where the interactions are through a competition rather than trophic hierarchy.

  2. Rodents balancing a variety of risks: invasive fire ants and indirect and direct indicators of predation risk.

    SciTech Connect

    Orrock, John, L.; Danielson, Brent, J.

    2004-06-08

    Oecologia (2004) 140: 662 - 667 We used foraging trays to compare how old field mice, Peromyscus polionotus, altered foraging in response to the presence of fire ants, Solenopsisinvicta, and in the presence of direct (predator urine) and indirect (sheltered or exposed micro habitat, moonlight, and precipitation) indicators of predation risk. Foraging reductions elicited by S. invicta were greater than reductions in response to well-documented indicators of risk (i.e., moonlit nights) and the presence of predator urine. The presence of S. invicta always led to reduced foraging, but the overall impact of S. invicta was dependent upon microhabitat and precipitation. When S. invicta was not present, foraging was greater in sheltered microhabitats compared to exposed microhabitats. S. invicta made sheltered microhabitats equivalent to more risky exposed microhabitats, and this effect was especially pronounced on nights without precipitation. The effect of S. invicta suggests that interactions with S. invicta may entail a potentially heavy cost or that presence of S. invicta may represent a more reliable indicator of imminent competition or predation compared to indirect cues of risk and predator urine. The presence of S. invicta led to reduced foraging under situations when foraging activity would otherwise be greatest (i.e., under vegetative cover), potentially reducing habitat quality for P. polionotus and the distribution of seeds consumed by rodents.

  3. Large-scale facilitation of a sessile community by an invasive habitat-forming snail

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thyrring, Jakob; Thomsen, Mads Solgaard; Wernberg, Thomas

    2013-12-01

    We provide an example of extensive facilitation of a sessile community throughout an invaded estuary by the invasive snail Batillaria australis. We show that B. australis greatly increases a limiting resource (attachment space) to a community of sessile organisms and estimate that a large part of the invaded estuary now contain ca. 50 times more sessile individuals associated with the invader than all native snails combined. We argue that native snails are unlikely to have been dramatically reduced by the invader, and we therefore suggest that the shell-attached sessile community, as a functional group, has benefitted significantly from this invasion. These results expand the current understanding of how invaded marine systems respond to habitat-forming invaders.

  4. Community impacts of Prosopis juliflora invasion: biogeographic and congeneric comparisons.

    PubMed

    Kaur, Rajwant; Gonzáles, Wilfredo L; Llambi, Luis Daniel; Soriano, Pascual J; Callaway, Ragan M; Rout, Marnie E; Gallaher, Timothy J; Inderjit

    2012-01-01

    We coordinated biogeographical comparisons of the impacts of an exotic invasive tree in its native and non-native ranges with a congeneric comparison in the non-native range. Prosopis juliflora is taxonomically complicated and with P. pallida forms the P. juliflora complex. Thus we sampled P. juliflora in its native Venezuela, and also located two field sites in Peru, the native range of Prosopis pallida. Canopies of Prosopis juliflora, a native of the New World but an invader in many other regions, had facilitative effects on the diversity of other species in its native Venezuela, and P. pallida had both negative and positive effects depending on the year, (overall neutral effects) in its native Peru. However, in India and Hawaii, USA, where P. juliflora is an aggressive invader, canopy effects were consistently and strongly negative on species richness. Prosopis cineraria, a native to India, had much weaker effects on species richness in India than P. juliflora. We carried out multiple congeneric comparisons between P. juliflora and P. cineraria, and found that soil from the rhizosphere of P. juliflora had higher extractable phosphorus, soluble salts and total phenolics than P. cineraria rhizosphere soils. Experimentally applied P. juliflora litter caused far greater mortality of native Indian species than litter from P. cineraria. Prosopis juliflora leaf leachate had neutral to negative effects on root growth of three common crop species of north-west India whereas P. cineraria leaf leachate had positive effects. Prosopis juliflora leaf leachate also had higher concentrations of total phenolics and L-tryptophan than P. cineraria, suggesting a potential allelopathic mechanism for the congeneric differences. Our results also suggest the possibility of regional evolutionary trajectories among competitors and that recent mixing of species from different trajectories has the potential to disrupt evolved interactions among native species.

  5. Community Impacts of Prosopis juliflora Invasion: Biogeographic and Congeneric Comparisons

    PubMed Central

    Kaur, Rajwant; Gonzáles, Wilfredo L.; Llambi, Luis Daniel; Soriano, Pascual J.; Callaway, Ragan M.; Rout, Marnie E.; Gallaher, Timothy J.; Inderjit

    2012-01-01

    We coordinated biogeographical comparisons of the impacts of an exotic invasive tree in its native and non-native ranges with a congeneric comparison in the non-native range. Prosopis juliflora is taxonomically complicated and with P. pallida forms the P. juliflora complex. Thus we sampled P. juliflora in its native Venezuela, and also located two field sites in Peru, the native range of Prosopis pallida. Canopies of Prosopis juliflora, a native of the New World but an invader in many other regions, had facilitative effects on the diversity of other species in its native Venezuela, and P. pallida had both negative and positive effects depending on the year, (overall neutral effects) in its native Peru. However, in India and Hawaii, USA, where P. juliflora is an aggressive invader, canopy effects were consistently and strongly negative on species richness. Prosopis cineraria, a native to India, had much weaker effects on species richness in India than P. juliflora. We carried out multiple congeneric comparisons between P. juliflora and P. cineraria, and found that soil from the rhizosphere of P. juliflora had higher extractable phosphorus, soluble salts and total phenolics than P. cineraria rhizosphere soils. Experimentally applied P. juliflora litter caused far greater mortality of native Indian species than litter from P. cineraria. Prosopis juliflora leaf leachate had neutral to negative effects on root growth of three common crop species of north-west India whereas P. cineraria leaf leachate had positive effects. Prosopis juliflora leaf leachate also had higher concentrations of total phenolics and L-tryptophan than P. cineraria, suggesting a potential allelopathic mechanism for the congeneric differences. Our results also suggest the possibility of regional evolutionary trajectories among competitors and that recent mixing of species from different trajectories has the potential to disrupt evolved interactions among native species. PMID:22984595

  6. Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and...

  7. Relationships between an invasive crab, habitat availability and intertidal community structure at biogeographic scales.

    PubMed

    Gribben, Paul E; Simpson, Michael; Wright, Jeffrey T

    2015-09-01

    At local scales, habitat availability influences interactions between native and invasive species. Habitat availability may also predict patterns in native communities and invasive species at biogeographic scales when both native and invasive species have specific habitat requirements. The New Zealand porcelain crab, Petrolisthes elongatus, has invaded intertidal rocky shores around Tasmania, Australia, where it is found in high densities (>1800 m(2)) under rocks. A hierarchical sampling approach was used to investigate 1) the relationship between habitat availability (rock cover) and the biomass and abundance of P. elongatus, and 2) the relationship between P. elongatus biomass and native communities at local and regional scales. Invertebrate communities and habitat availability were sampled at multiple sites in the north and south regions of Tasmania. P. elongatus biomass and abundance were positively correlated with rock cover and patterns were consistent at the biogeographic scale (between regions). P. elongatus biomass was positively correlated with native species richness, biomass and abundance highlighting their co-dependence on rock cover. However, multivariate analyses indicated a different native community structure with increasing P. elongatus biomass. Flat, strongly adhering gastropods (chitons and limpets) were positively correlated with P. elongatus biomass, whereas mobile gastropods and crabs were negatively correlated with P. elongatus biomass. Despite local scale variation, there were clear consistent relationships between habitat-availability and the biomass of P. elongatus, and between native communities and the biomass of P. elongatus suggesting that the relationships between native and invasive species may be predictable at large spatial scales. Moreover, the strong relationships between P. elongatus biomass and changes in native community structure suggest a greater understanding of its impact is needed so that appropriate

  8. Relationships between an invasive crab, habitat availability and intertidal community structure at biogeographic scales.

    PubMed

    Gribben, Paul E; Simpson, Michael; Wright, Jeffrey T

    2015-09-01

    At local scales, habitat availability influences interactions between native and invasive species. Habitat availability may also predict patterns in native communities and invasive species at biogeographic scales when both native and invasive species have specific habitat requirements. The New Zealand porcelain crab, Petrolisthes elongatus, has invaded intertidal rocky shores around Tasmania, Australia, where it is found in high densities (>1800 m(2)) under rocks. A hierarchical sampling approach was used to investigate 1) the relationship between habitat availability (rock cover) and the biomass and abundance of P. elongatus, and 2) the relationship between P. elongatus biomass and native communities at local and regional scales. Invertebrate communities and habitat availability were sampled at multiple sites in the north and south regions of Tasmania. P. elongatus biomass and abundance were positively correlated with rock cover and patterns were consistent at the biogeographic scale (between regions). P. elongatus biomass was positively correlated with native species richness, biomass and abundance highlighting their co-dependence on rock cover. However, multivariate analyses indicated a different native community structure with increasing P. elongatus biomass. Flat, strongly adhering gastropods (chitons and limpets) were positively correlated with P. elongatus biomass, whereas mobile gastropods and crabs were negatively correlated with P. elongatus biomass. Despite local scale variation, there were clear consistent relationships between habitat-availability and the biomass of P. elongatus, and between native communities and the biomass of P. elongatus suggesting that the relationships between native and invasive species may be predictable at large spatial scales. Moreover, the strong relationships between P. elongatus biomass and changes in native community structure suggest a greater understanding of its impact is needed so that appropriate

  9. Plant community type and small-scale disturbances, but not altitude, influence the invasibility in subarctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Milbau, Ann; Shevtsova, Anna; Osler, Nora; Mooshammer, Maria; Graae, Bente J

    2013-02-01

    Little of our knowledge about invasibility comes from arctic and alpine ecosystems, despite increasing plant migration and invasion in those regions. Here, we examine how community type, altitude, and small-scale disturbances affect invasibility in a subarctic ecosystem. Over a period of 4 yr, we studied seedling emergence and establishment in 17 species sown in gaps or undisturbed vegetation in four subarctic community types (Salix scrub, meadow, rich heath, poor heath) along an elevation gradient. Invasibility was lowest in rich heath and highest in Salix scrub. Small disturbances significantly increased the invasibility in most communities, thereby showing the importance of biotic resistance to invasion in subarctic regions. Unexpectedly, invasibility did not decrease with increasing elevation, and it was also not related to summer temperature. Our data suggest that biotic resistance might be more important than abiotic stress for invasibility in subarctic tundra and that low temperatures do not necessarily limit seedling establishment at high altitudes. High elevations are therefore potentially more vulnerable to invasion than was originally thought. Changes in community composition as a result of species migration or invasion are most likely to occur in Salix scrub and meadow, whereas Empetrum-dominated rich heath will largely remain unchanged.

  10. Invasive lionfish harbor a different external bacterial community than native Bahamian fishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, J. L.; Olson, J. B.

    2013-12-01

    The introduction and subsequent spread of lionfish into the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea has become a worldwide conservation issue. These highly successful invaders may also be capable of introducing non-native microorganisms to the invaded regions. This study compared the bacterial communities associated with lionfish external tissue to those of native Bahamian fishes and ambient water. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses demonstrated that lionfish bacterial communities were significantly different than those associated with three native Bahamian fishes. Additionally, all fishes harbored distinct bacterial communities from the ambient bacterioplankton. Analysis of bacterial clone libraries from invasive lionfish and native squirrelfish indicated that lionfish communities were more diverse than those associated with squirrelfish, yet did not contain known fish pathogens. Using microscopy and molecular genetic approaches, lionfish eggs were examined for the presence of bacteria to evaluate the capacity for vertical transmission. Eggs removed from the ovaries of gravid females were free of bacteria, suggesting that lionfish likely acquire bacteria from the environment. This study was the first examination of bacterial communities associated with the invasive lionfish and indicated that they support different communities of environmentally derived bacteria than Caribbean reef fishes.

  11. Predicting invasive species impacts: a community module functional response approach reveals context dependencies.

    PubMed

    Paterson, Rachel A; Dick, Jaimie T A; Pritchard, Daniel W; Ennis, Marilyn; Hatcher, Melanie J; Dunn, Alison M

    2015-03-01

    Predatory functional responses play integral roles in predator-prey dynamics, and their assessment promises greater understanding and prediction of the predatory impacts of invasive species. Other interspecific interactions, however, such as parasitism and higher-order predation, have the potential to modify predator-prey interactions and thus the predictive capability of the comparative functional response approach. We used a four-species community module (higher-order predator; focal native or invasive predators; parasites of focal predators; native prey) to compare the predatory functional responses of native Gammarus duebeni celticus and invasive Gammarus pulex amphipods towards three invertebrate prey species (Asellus aquaticus, Simulium spp., Baetis rhodani), thus, quantifying the context dependencies of parasitism and a higher-order fish predator on these functional responses. Our functional response experiments demonstrated that the invasive amphipod had a higher predatory impact (lower handling time) on two of three prey species, which reflects patterns of impact observed in the field. The community module also revealed that parasitism had context-dependent influences, for one prey species, with the potential to further reduce the predatory impact of the invasive amphipod or increase the predatory impact of the native amphipod in the presence of a higher-order fish predator. Partial consumption of prey was similar for both predators and occurred increasingly in the order A. aquaticus, Simulium spp. and B. rhodani. This was associated with increasing prey densities, but showed no context dependencies with parasitism or higher-order fish predator. This study supports the applicability of comparative functional responses as a tool to predict and assess invasive species impacts incorporating multiple context dependencies.

  12. Predicting invasive species impacts: a community module functional response approach reveals context dependencies.

    PubMed

    Paterson, Rachel A; Dick, Jaimie T A; Pritchard, Daniel W; Ennis, Marilyn; Hatcher, Melanie J; Dunn, Alison M

    2015-03-01

    Predatory functional responses play integral roles in predator-prey dynamics, and their assessment promises greater understanding and prediction of the predatory impacts of invasive species. Other interspecific interactions, however, such as parasitism and higher-order predation, have the potential to modify predator-prey interactions and thus the predictive capability of the comparative functional response approach. We used a four-species community module (higher-order predator; focal native or invasive predators; parasites of focal predators; native prey) to compare the predatory functional responses of native Gammarus duebeni celticus and invasive Gammarus pulex amphipods towards three invertebrate prey species (Asellus aquaticus, Simulium spp., Baetis rhodani), thus, quantifying the context dependencies of parasitism and a higher-order fish predator on these functional responses. Our functional response experiments demonstrated that the invasive amphipod had a higher predatory impact (lower handling time) on two of three prey species, which reflects patterns of impact observed in the field. The community module also revealed that parasitism had context-dependent influences, for one prey species, with the potential to further reduce the predatory impact of the invasive amphipod or increase the predatory impact of the native amphipod in the presence of a higher-order fish predator. Partial consumption of prey was similar for both predators and occurred increasingly in the order A. aquaticus, Simulium spp. and B. rhodani. This was associated with increasing prey densities, but showed no context dependencies with parasitism or higher-order fish predator. This study supports the applicability of comparative functional responses as a tool to predict and assess invasive species impacts incorporating multiple context dependencies. PMID:25265905

  13. Predicting invasive species impacts: a community module functional response approach reveals context dependencies

    PubMed Central

    Paterson, Rachel A; Dick, Jaimie T A; Pritchard, Daniel W; Ennis, Marilyn; Hatcher, Melanie J; Dunn, Alison M

    2015-01-01

    Summary Predatory functional responses play integral roles in predator–prey dynamics, and their assessment promises greater understanding and prediction of the predatory impacts of invasive species. Other interspecific interactions, however, such as parasitism and higher-order predation, have the potential to modify predator–prey interactions and thus the predictive capability of the comparative functional response approach. We used a four-species community module (higher-order predator; focal native or invasive predators; parasites of focal predators; native prey) to compare the predatory functional responses of native Gammarus duebeni celticus and invasive Gammarus pulex amphipods towards three invertebrate prey species (Asellus aquaticus, Simulium spp., Baetis rhodani), thus, quantifying the context dependencies of parasitism and a higher-order fish predator on these functional responses. Our functional response experiments demonstrated that the invasive amphipod had a higher predatory impact (lower handling time) on two of three prey species, which reflects patterns of impact observed in the field. The community module also revealed that parasitism had context-dependent influences, for one prey species, with the potential to further reduce the predatory impact of the invasive amphipod or increase the predatory impact of the native amphipod in the presence of a higher-order fish predator. Partial consumption of prey was similar for both predators and occurred increasingly in the order A. aquaticus, Simulium spp. and B. rhodani. This was associated with increasing prey densities, but showed no context dependencies with parasitism or higher-order fish predator. This study supports the applicability of comparative functional responses as a tool to predict and assess invasive species impacts incorporating multiple context dependencies. PMID:25265905

  14. The influence of insecticides and vegetation in structuring Formica mound ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Maine lowbush blueberry.

    PubMed

    Choate, Beth; Drummond, Francis A

    2013-04-01

    Assessing the influence of new, reduced-risk insecticides on natural enemies within agroecosystems is essential to developing integrated pest management strategies. Three species of mound-building Formica ants are abundant throughout Maine lowbush blueberry fields (Formica exsectoides Forel, F. glacialis Wheeler, and F. ulkei Emery). All three species have been described in the literature as predaceous, with research demonstrating that F. exsectoides preys on major pest insects of lowbush blueberry. The objectives of this study were to determine the impact of common-use and newly introduced insecticides on Formica sp. ant communities in lowbush blueberry fields. Laboratory assays indicated that the commonly applied insecticide phosmet is toxic to F. exsectoides, even after 8 d of field weathering (P < 0.05). Species comparisons indicated that susceptibility varied with exposure to residues in the field. However, some of the reduced-risk biorational insecticides, such as acetamiprid, had little effect on survival of all three species. Abundance of each species in the field varied with lowbush blueberry pesticide-use strategy and amount of nonblueberry vegetation. Both F. exsectoides and F. glacialis were most abundant in organic fields; however, overall F. glacialis was the most abundant in fields of all management types. Field surveys support laboratory results suggesting that phosmet is highly toxic to these species and influences their spatial pattern. Manipulation of the crop to conserve natural enemies in lowbush blueberry is difficult because the crop is not planted; therefore, we must look closely at the incorporation of low toxicity insecticides with natural enemies to efficiently control pest insects.

  15. Changes in plant community of Seasonally Semideciduous Forest after invasion by Schizolobium parahyba at southeastern Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abreu, Rodolfo Cesar Real de; Santos, Francisco Ferreira de Miranda; Durigan, Giselda

    2014-01-01

    The recognition of a species as invasive is generally accepted when it comes from another continent or even from another country, but requires strong evidences of negative impacts to support control actions when the invasive species comes from another region in the same country. Schyzolobium parahyba - the 'guapuruvu', is a Brazilian tree native from the evergreen type of the Atlantic Forest, which has been recorded as invader in a number of remnants of the Seasonally Semideciduous Forest - SSF. We hypothesized that this giant and fast growing invasive tree changes the structure and composition of the understory, thus impairing the forest dynamics. We assessed the invasive population in the whole fragment, and, within the portion invaded, we sampled the regenerating plant community 1) under the largest alien trees, 2) under a native species with similar ecology (Peltophorum dubium), and 3) randomly in the forest. Density, basal area and richness under S. parahyba were remarkably lower than under the equivalent native species or in the understory as a whole. Floristic composition of the plant community was also distinct under S. parahyba, possibly due to increased competition for soil water. Even though the alien species has occupied, as yet, a small proportion of the forest fragment, it dominates the overstory and threatens the regeneration processes under its canopy. In view of our findings, we recommend extirpation of the species from SSF, as well as avoiding cultivation of the species away from its native range.

  16. The influence of Aster x salignus Willd. Invasion on the diversity of soil yeast communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glushakova, A. M.; Kachalkin, A. V.; Chernov, I. Yu.

    2016-07-01

    The annual dynamics of yeast communities were studied in the soddy-podzolic soil under the thickets of Aster x salignus Willd., one of the widespread invasive plant species in central Russia. Yeast groups in the soils under continuous aster thickets were found to differ greatly from the yeast communities in the soils under the adjacent indigenous meadow vegetation. In both biotopes the same species ( Candida vartiovaarae, Candida sake, and Cryptococcus terreus) are dominants. However, in the soils under indigenous grasses, eurybiontic yeasts Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, which almost never occur in the soil under aster, are widespread. In the soil under aster, the shares of other typical epiphytic and pedobiontic yeast fungi (ascomycetic species Wickerhamomyces aniomalus, Barnettozyma californica and basidiomycetic species Cystofilobasidium macerans, Guehomyces pullulans) significantly increase. Thus, the invasion of Aster x salignus has a clear effect on soil yeast complexes reducing their taxonomic and ecological diversity.

  17. Extreme climatic events change the dynamics and invasibility of semi-arid annual plant communities.

    PubMed

    Jiménez, Milagros A; Jaksic, Fabian M; Armesto, Juan J; Gaxiola, Aurora; Meserve, Peter L; Kelt, Douglas A; Gutiérrez, Julio R

    2011-12-01

    Extreme climatic events represent disturbances that change the availability of resources. We studied their effects on annual plant assemblages in a semi-arid ecosystem in north-central Chile. We analysed 130 years of precipitation data using generalised extreme-value distribution to determine extreme events, and multivariate techniques to analyse 20 years of plant cover data of 34 native and 11 exotic species. Extreme drought resets the dynamics of the system and renders it susceptible to invasion. On the other hand, by favouring native annuals, moderately wet events change species composition and allow the community to be resilient to extreme drought. The probability of extreme drought has doubled over the last 50 years. Therefore, investigations on the interaction of climate change and biological invasions are relevant to determine the potential for future effects on the dynamics of semi-arid annual plant communities.

  18. Species richness and interacting factors control invasibility of a marine community.

    PubMed

    Marraffini, M L; Geller, J B

    2015-08-01

    Anthropogenic vectors have moved marine species around the world leading to increased invasions and expanded species' ranges. The biotic resistance hypothesis of Elton (in The ecology of invasions by animals and plants, 1958) predicts that more diverse communities should have greater resistance to invasions, but experiments have been equivocal. We hypothesized that species richness interacts with other factors to determine experimental outcomes. We manipulated species richness, species composition (native and introduced) and availability of bare space in invertebrate assemblages in a marina in Monterey, CA. Increased species richness significantly interacted with both initial cover of native species and of all organisms to collectively decrease recruitment. Although native species decreased recruitment, introduced species had a similar effect, and we concluded that biotic resistance is conferred by total species richness. We suggest that contradictory conclusions in previous studies about the role of diversity in regulating invasions reflect uncontrolled variables in those experiments that modified the effect of species richness. Our results suggest that patches of low diversity and abundance may facilitate invasions, and that such patches, once colonized by non-indigenous species, can resist both native and non-indigenous species recruitment.

  19. Species richness and interacting factors control invasibility of a marine community

    PubMed Central

    Marraffini, M. L.; Geller, J. B.

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic vectors have moved marine species around the world leading to increased invasions and expanded species' ranges. The biotic resistance hypothesis of Elton (in The ecology of invasions by animals and plants, 1958) predicts that more diverse communities should have greater resistance to invasions, but experiments have been equivocal. We hypothesized that species richness interacts with other factors to determine experimental outcomes. We manipulated species richness, species composition (native and introduced) and availability of bare space in invertebrate assemblages in a marina in Monterey, CA. Increased species richness significantly interacted with both initial cover of native species and of all organisms to collectively decrease recruitment. Although native species decreased recruitment, introduced species had a similar effect, and we concluded that biotic resistance is conferred by total species richness. We suggest that contradictory conclusions in previous studies about the role of diversity in regulating invasions reflect uncontrolled variables in those experiments that modified the effect of species richness. Our results suggest that patches of low diversity and abundance may facilitate invasions, and that such patches, once colonized by non-indigenous species, can resist both native and non-indigenous species recruitment. PMID:26203005

  20. Neighbourhood association of Cortaderia selloana invasion, soil properties and plant community structure in Mediterranean coastal grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domènech, Roser; Vilà, Montserrat; Gesti, Josep; Serrasolses, Isabel

    2006-03-01

    Invasion by alien species is threatening the conservation of native plant communities and the integrity of ecosystems. To gain a better understanding of such impacts, many studies have examined the traits that make alien species successful invaders as well as the factors involved in community invasibility. However, it is necessary to link invader effects on community structure and on ecosystem processes in order to unravel the mechanisms of impact. Cortaderia selloana is a perennial grass native to South America that is invading abandoned agricultural lands close to coastal human settlements in Catalonia (NE Spain). In invaded pastures, we examined the association between C. selloana invasion, soil properties and vegetation structure changes in pastures, comparing the neighbourhood area of influence of C. selloana with areas far from C. selloana. Areas under the influence of C. selloana had lower total soil nitrogen values and higher C/N values than in areas far from C. selloana. Furthermore, the areas affected by C. selloana had lower species, family and life form richness and diversity, and less plant cover. In addition, C. selloana also increased the vertical vegetation structure and changed species composition (only 44% similarity between invaded and non-invaded areas). Our results point out that C. selloana has an effect on its neighbourhood leading to an increase in small-scale variability within invaded fields.

  1. Effects of the invasive clam Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) on an estuarine microbial community.

    PubMed

    Novais, Adriana; Souza, Allan T; Ilarri, Martina; Pascoal, Cláudia; Sousa, Ronaldo

    2016-10-01

    The Asian clam Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) is well recognized for its invasive behavior and high ecological and economic impacts, being classified as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species (IAS) in Europe. In this study, we performed a manipulative experiment under natural conditions to assess the effects of C. fluminea on sediments biochemistry and on the structure of an estuarine microbial (fungi and bacteria) community. We placed 5 treatments (control, rock, closed, live and open) for 2months in the Minho estuary (NW Iberian Peninsula). No differences were detected between treatments regarding the values of carbon (C), nitrite (NO2(-)), ammonium (NH4(+)), phosphate (PO4(3-)) and calcium (Ca) in the sediments; however, potassium (K) had higher values in the open treatment. Furthermore, we found that the presence of live C. fluminea stimulated fungal biomass (but not diversity) and bacterial diversity. Bioturbation activities by C. fluminea are possibly the main mechanism explaining these results; however, other factors such as the presence of other macroinvertebrate species and/or production of feces and pseudofeces by C. fluminea cannot be excluded. To our knowledge, this is the first manipulative experiment under natural conditions that clearly shows the effects of C. fluminea on an estuarine microbial community. Given the widespread distribution of this IAS and the paucity of quantitative assessments of invasive bivalves' effects on microbial communities, it will be important that future studies further investigate these processes. PMID:27265734

  2. [Effects of Phyllostachys edulis invasion of native broadleaf forest on soil fungal community].

    PubMed

    Li, Yong-chun; Liang, Xue; Li, Yong-fu; Wang, Qi; Chen, Jun-hui; Xu, Qiu-fang

    2016-02-01

    To investigate variation of soil fungal community in response to invasion of Phyllostachys edulis into native broadleaf forest, we characterized the community structure and the abundance of fungi in soil under bamboo (BB), mixture forest of bamboo and broadleaf (MF) and broadleaf forest (BL) using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and real-time quantitative PCR. The results showed that the most obvious difference in the soil fungal community structure was observed between the BB and BF stands, followed by that between the MF and BL. Shannon index and evenness index of soil fungi were higher in the MF than in the BB and BL. pH and NH4+-N content were the most important environmental gradients on the distribution of fungal community under BB, while NO3(-)-N content significantly affected the distribution of the fungal community under BL. The abundance of fungi in BL was significantly higher than that in BB and MF, and the fungi abundance showed a negative correlation with soil pH but a positive correlation with NO3(-)-N content. These results implied that heterotrophic nitrification driven by fungi could occur in soil of BL, and this process might be changed by the bamboo invasion. PMID:27396134

  3. Invasibility of resident biofilms by allochthonous communities in bioreactors.

    PubMed

    Bellucci, Micol; Bernet, Nicolas; Harmand, Jérôme; Godon, Jean-Jacques; Milferstedt, Kim

    2015-09-15

    Invasion of non-native species can drastically affect the community composition and diversity of engineered and natural ecosystems, biofilms included. In this study, a molecular community fingerprinting method was used to monitor the putative establishment and colonization of allochthonous consortia in resident multi-species biofilms. To do this, biofilms inoculated with tap water or activated sludge were grown for 10 days in bubble column reactors W1 and W2, and S, respectively, before being exposed to non-native microbial consortia. These consortia consisted of fresh activated sludge suspensions for the biofilms inoculated with tap water (reactors W1 and W2) and of transplanted mature tap water biofilm for the activated sludge biofilm (reactor S). The introduction of virgin, unoccupied coupons into W1 and W2 enabled us to additionally investigate the competition for new resources (space) among the resident biofilm and the allochthonous consortia. CE-SSCP revealed that after the invasion event changes were mostly observed in the abundance of the dominant species in the native biofilms rather than their composition. This suggests that the resident communities within a bioreactor immediately outcompete the allochthonous microbes and shape the microbial community assemblage on both new coupons and already colonized surfaces for the short term. However, with time, latent members of the allochthonous community might grow up affecting the diversity and composition of the original biofilms. PMID:26072021

  4. [Effects of Phyllostachys edulis invasion of native broadleaf forest on soil fungal community].

    PubMed

    Li, Yong-chun; Liang, Xue; Li, Yong-fu; Wang, Qi; Chen, Jun-hui; Xu, Qiu-fang

    2016-02-01

    To investigate variation of soil fungal community in response to invasion of Phyllostachys edulis into native broadleaf forest, we characterized the community structure and the abundance of fungi in soil under bamboo (BB), mixture forest of bamboo and broadleaf (MF) and broadleaf forest (BL) using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and real-time quantitative PCR. The results showed that the most obvious difference in the soil fungal community structure was observed between the BB and BF stands, followed by that between the MF and BL. Shannon index and evenness index of soil fungi were higher in the MF than in the BB and BL. pH and NH4+-N content were the most important environmental gradients on the distribution of fungal community under BB, while NO3(-)-N content significantly affected the distribution of the fungal community under BL. The abundance of fungi in BL was significantly higher than that in BB and MF, and the fungi abundance showed a negative correlation with soil pH but a positive correlation with NO3(-)-N content. These results implied that heterotrophic nitrification driven by fungi could occur in soil of BL, and this process might be changed by the bamboo invasion.

  5. Invasibility of resident biofilms by allochthonous communities in bioreactors.

    PubMed

    Bellucci, Micol; Bernet, Nicolas; Harmand, Jérôme; Godon, Jean-Jacques; Milferstedt, Kim

    2015-09-15

    Invasion of non-native species can drastically affect the community composition and diversity of engineered and natural ecosystems, biofilms included. In this study, a molecular community fingerprinting method was used to monitor the putative establishment and colonization of allochthonous consortia in resident multi-species biofilms. To do this, biofilms inoculated with tap water or activated sludge were grown for 10 days in bubble column reactors W1 and W2, and S, respectively, before being exposed to non-native microbial consortia. These consortia consisted of fresh activated sludge suspensions for the biofilms inoculated with tap water (reactors W1 and W2) and of transplanted mature tap water biofilm for the activated sludge biofilm (reactor S). The introduction of virgin, unoccupied coupons into W1 and W2 enabled us to additionally investigate the competition for new resources (space) among the resident biofilm and the allochthonous consortia. CE-SSCP revealed that after the invasion event changes were mostly observed in the abundance of the dominant species in the native biofilms rather than their composition. This suggests that the resident communities within a bioreactor immediately outcompete the allochthonous microbes and shape the microbial community assemblage on both new coupons and already colonized surfaces for the short term. However, with time, latent members of the allochthonous community might grow up affecting the diversity and composition of the original biofilms.

  6. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species – the roles of community attributes, Bromus Interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chambers, Jeanne; Germino, Matthew; Belnap, Jayne; Brown, Cynthia; Schupp, Eugene W.; St. Clair, Samuel B

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromushereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in particular ambient and soil temperatures, have significant effects on the ability of Bromus to establish and spread. Seasonality of precipitation relative to temperature influences plant community resistance toBromus through effects on soil water storage, timing of water and nutrient availability, and dominant plant life forms. Differences among plant communities in how well soil resource use by the plant community matches resource supply rates can influence the magnitude of resource fluctuations due to either climate or disturbance and thus the opportunities for invasion. The spatial and temporal patterns of resource availability and acquisition of growth resources by Bromus versus native species strongly influence resistance to invasion. Traits of Bromus that confer a “priority advantage” for resource use in many communities include early-season germination and high growth and reproductive rates. Resistance to Bromus can be overwhelmed by high propagule supply, low innate seed dormancy, and large, if short-lived, seed banks. Biological crusts can inhibit germination and establishment of invasive annual plants, including several annual Bromus species, but are effective only in the absence of disturbance. Herbivores can have negative direct effects on Bromus, but positive indirect effects through decreases in competitors. Management strategies can be improved through increased understanding of community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species.

  7. Negative per capita effects of two invasive plants, Lythrum salicaria and Phalaris arundinacea, on the moth diversity of wetland communities.

    PubMed

    Schooler, S S; McEvoy, P B; Hammond, P; Coombs, E M

    2009-06-01

    Invasive plants have been shown to negatively affect the diversity of plant communities. However, little is known about the effect of invasive plants on the diversity at other trophic levels. In this study, we examine the per capita effects of two invasive plants, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), on moth diversity in wetland communities at 20 sites in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Prior studies document that increasing abundance of these two plant species decreases the diversity of plant communities. We predicted that this reduction in plant diversity would result in reduced herbivore diversity. Four measurements were used to quantify diversity: species richness (S), community evenness (J), Brillouin's index (H) and Simpson's index (D). We identified 162 plant species and 156 moth species across the 20 wetland sites. The number of moth species was positively correlated with the number of plant species. In addition, invasive plant abundance was negatively correlated with species richness of the moth community (linear relationship), and the effect was similar for both invasive plant species. However, no relationship was found between invasive plant abundance and the three other measures of moth diversity (J, H, D) which included moth abundance in their calculation. We conclude that species richness within, and among, trophic levels is adversely affected by these two invasive wetland plant species.

  8. Long-Term Functional Dynamics of an Aphidophagous Coccinellid Community Remain Unchanged despite Repeated Invasions

    PubMed Central

    Bahlai, Christine A.; Colunga-Garcia, Manuel; Gage, Stuart H.; Landis, Douglas A.

    2013-01-01

    Aphidophagous coccinellids (ladybeetles) are important providers of herbivore suppression ecosystem services. In the last 30 years, the invasion of exotic coccinellid species, coupled with observed declines in native species, has led to considerable interest in the community dynamics and ecosystem function of this guild. Here we examined a 24-year dataset of coccinellid communities in nine habitats in southwestern Michigan for changes in community function in response to invasion. Specifically we analyzed their temporal population dynamics and species diversity, and we modeled the community’s potential to suppress pests. Abundance of coccinellids varied widely between 1989 and 2012 and became increasingly exotic-dominated. More than 71% of 57,813 adult coccinellids captured over the 24-year study were exotic species. Shannon diversity increased slightly over time, but herbivore suppression potential of the community remained roughly constant over the course of the study. However, both Shannon diversity and herbivore suppression potential due to native species declined over time in all habitats. The relationship between Shannon diversity and herbivore suppression potential varied with habitat type: a positive relationship in forest and perennial habitats, but was uncorrelated in annual habitats. This trend may have been because annual habitats were dominated by a few, highly voracious exotic species. Our results indicated that although the composition of the coccinellid community in southwestern Michigan has changed dramatically in the past several decades, its function has remained relatively unchanged in both agricultural and natural habitats. While this is encouraging from the perspective of pest management, it should be noted that losses of one of the dominant exotic coccinellids could result in a rapid decline in pest suppression services if the remaining community is unable to respond. PMID:24349505

  9. Herbivory of an invasive slug is affected by earthworms and the composition of plant communities

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Biodiversity loss and species invasions are among the most important human-induced global changes. Moreover, these two processes are interlinked as ecosystem invasibility is considered to increase with decreasing biodiversity. In temperate grasslands, earthworms serve as important ecosystem engineers making up the majority of soil faunal biomass. Herbivore behaviour has been shown to be affected by earthworms, however it is unclear whether these effects differ with the composition of plant communities. To test this we conducted a mesocosm experiment where we added earthworms (Annelida: Lumbricidae) to planted grassland communities with different plant species composition (3 vs. 12 plant spp.). Plant communities had equal plant densities and ratios of the functional groups grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Later, Arion vulgaris slugs (formerly known as A. lusitanicus; Gastropoda: Arionidae) were added and allowed to freely choose among the available plant species. This slug species is listed among the 100 worst alien species in Europe. We hypothesized that (i) the food choice of slugs would be altered by earthworms’ specific effects on the growth and nutrient content of plant species, (ii) slug herbivory will be less affected by earthworms in plant communities containing more plant species than in those with fewer plant species because of a more readily utilization of plant resources making the impacts of earthworms less pronounced. Results Slug herbivory was significantly affected by both earthworms and plant species composition. Slugs damaged 60% less leaves when earthworms were present, regardless of the species composition of the plant communities. Percent leaf area consumed by slugs was 40% lower in communities containing 12 plant species; in communities containing only three species earthworms increased slug leaf area consumption. Grasses were generally avoided by slugs. Leaf length and number of tillers was increased in mesocosms

  10. Invasive dreissenid mussels and benthic algae in Lake Michigan: characterizing effects on sediment bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Lee, Philip O; McLellan, Sandra L; Graham, Linda E; Young, Erica B

    2015-01-01

    Dreissenid mussels have invaded the Laurentian Great Lakes causing dramatic changes to benthic-pelagic interactions. Despite research on food web impacts, there is limited data on mussel effects on benthic bacterial communities. This study examined effects of dreissenid mussels and benthic algae on sediment bacterial community composition and diversity. Triplicate experimental sediment plus lake water microcosms were used and either mussels, benthic algae or both were added. Changes in water nutrient chemistry and sediment bacterial communities were monitored using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, over 21 days. When mussels were present, nitrate and soluble reactive P increased significantly as the dominant N and P forms. Bacterial diversity increased in all microcosms, although bacterial community composition was distinct between treatment. Higher nitrate in mussel microcosms was accompanied by increases in nitrifying taxa (Nitrospira, Nitrosomonas), which are important in oxidizing mussel-excreted ammonium. Microcosms with algal additions showed increases in bacterial taxa capable of degrading algal cellulose, and Pelagibacter (SAR11) disappeared from all but control microcosms. This study suggests that bacterial communities in lake sediments respond to mussels and algae. Functional analysis of bacterial communities provides insights into changes in microbially mediated benthic nutrient transformations associated with invasive dreissenid mussels and benthic algae in lake ecosystems.

  11. Community-based participatory research helps farmers and scientists to manage invasive pests in the Ecuadorian Andes.

    PubMed

    Dangles, O; Carpio, F C; Villares, M; Yumisaca, F; Liger, B; Rebaudo, F; Silvain, J F

    2010-06-01

    Participatory research has not been a conspicuous methodology in developing nations for studying invasive pests, an increasing threat to the sustainable development in the tropics. Our study presents a community-based monitoring system that focuses on three invasive potato tuber moth species (PTM). The monitoring was developed and implemented by young farmers in a remote mountainous area of Ecuador. Local participants collected data from the PTM invasion front, which revealed clear connection between the abundance of one of the species (Tecia solanivora) and the remoteness to the main market place. This suggests that mechanisms structuring invasive populations at the invasion front are different from those occurring in areas invaded for longer period. Participatory monitoring with local people may serve as a cost-effective early warning system to detect and control incipient invasive pest species in countries where the daily management of biological resources is largely in the hands of poor rural people.

  12. Impact of nitrogen availability and soil communities on biomass accumulation of an invasive species

    PubMed Central

    Bajpai, Devika; Inderjit

    2013-01-01

    Exotic plant species impact belowground processes by influencing resource availability through enhanced microbial activity as a consequence of litter inputs. We have little understanding of the impact of microbe-driven nutrient fluctuations on the biomass accumulation of invasive species. Here we attempt to answer the question on whether soil community-driven nitrogen availability influences invader biomass. We discovered that soil communities cultured by Ageratina adenophora, a neotropical invader in Asia, retain available nitrogen that influences the biomass of the invader. Through soil manipulation experiments we found that A. adenophora grows better in soil with a higher available nitrogen content. Ageratina adenophora-invaded soil had higher microbial activity and available nitrogen due to higher inputs of terpene-rich litter compared with soil not yet invaded by it. Our results provide evidence that microbe-linked nitrogen availability exerts a positive impact on A. adenophora biomass accumulation. Our work emphasizes the importance of soil community-driven nitrogen availability in invasion success.

  13. Minimal Effects of an Invasive Flowering Shrub on the Pollinator Community of Native Forbs

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Y. Anny; Burkle, Laura A.; Knight, Tiffany M.

    2014-01-01

    Biological invasions can strongly influence species interactions such as pollination. Most of the documented effects of exotic plant species on plant-pollinator interactions have been observational studies using single pairs of native and exotic plants, and have focused on dominant exotic plant species. We know little about how exotic plants alter interactions in entire communities of plants and pollinators, especially at low to medium invader densities. In this study, we began to address these gaps by experimentally removing the flowers of a showy invasive shrub, Rosa multiflora, and evaluating its effects on the frequency, richness, and composition of bee visitors to co-flowering native plants. We found that while R. multiflora increased plot-level richness of bee visitors to co-flowering native plant species at some sites, its presence had no significant effects on bee visitation rate, visitor richness, bee community composition, or abundance overall. In addition, we found that compared to co-flowering natives, R. multiflora was a generalist plant that primarily received visits from generalist bee species shared with native plant species. Our results suggest that exotic plants such as R. multiflora may facilitate native plant pollination in a community context by attracting a more diverse assemblage of pollinators, but have limited and idiosyncratic effects on the resident plant-pollinator network in general. PMID:25343718

  14. Ecophysiological Responses of Invasive and Native Grass Communities with Simulated Warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quade, B.; Ravi, S.; Huxman, T. E.

    2010-12-01

    William Quade1, Sujith Ravi2, Ashley Weide2, Greg Barron-Gafford2, Katerina Dontsova2 and Travis E Huxman2 1Carthage College, WI 2 B2 Earthscience & UA Biosphere 2, University of Arizona, Tucson. Abstract Climate change, anthropogenic disturbances and lack of proper management practices have rendered many arid regions susceptible to invasions by exotic grasses with consequent ecohydrological, biogeochemical and socio economic implications. Thus, understanding the ecophysiological processes driving these large-scale vegetation shifts in drylands, in the context of rising temperatures and recurrent droughts is fundamental to global change research. Using the Biosphere 2 facility to maintain distinct temperature treatments of ambient and predicted warmer conditions (+ 4o C) inside, we compared the physiological (e.g. photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, biomass) responses of a native grass - Heteropogan contortus (Tanglehead) and an invasive grass - Pennisetum ciliare (Buffelgrass) growing in single and mixed communities. The results indicate that Buffelgrass can assimilate more CO2 per unit leaf area under current conditions, though warming seems to inhibit the performance when looking at biomass, photosynthesis and stomatal conductance. Under similar moisture regimes Buffelgrass performed better than Tangle head in mixed communities regardless of the temperature. Both grasses had decrease in stomatal conductance with warmer conditions, however the Buffel grass did not have the same decrease of conductance when planted in a mixed communities. Key words: Buffelgrass, Tanglehead, Biosphere 2, stomatal conductance, climate change

  15. Are Local Filters Blind to Provenance? Ant Seed Predation Suppresses Exotic Plants More than Natives

    PubMed Central

    Pearson, Dean E.; Icasatti, Nadia S.; Hierro, Jose L.; Bird, Benjamin J.

    2014-01-01

    The question of whether species’ origins influence invasion outcomes has been a point of substantial debate in invasion ecology. Theoretically, colonization outcomes can be predicted based on how species’ traits interact with community filters, a process presumably blind to species’ origins. Yet, exotic plant introductions commonly result in monospecific plant densities not commonly seen in native assemblages, suggesting that exotic species may respond to community filters differently than natives. Here, we tested whether exotic and native species differed in their responses to a local community filter by examining how ant seed predation affected recruitment of eighteen native and exotic plant species in central Argentina. Ant seed predation proved to be an important local filter that strongly suppressed plant recruitment, but ants suppressed exotic recruitment far more than natives (89% of exotic species vs. 22% of natives). Seed size predicted ant impacts on recruitment independent of origins, with ant preference for smaller seeds resulting in smaller seeded plant species being heavily suppressed. The disproportionate effects of provenance arose because exotics had generally smaller seeds than natives. Exotics also exhibited greater emergence and earlier peak emergence than natives in the absence of ants. However, when ants had access to seeds, these potential advantages of exotics were negated due to the filtering bias against exotics. The differences in traits we observed between exotics and natives suggest that higher-order introduction filters or regional processes preselected for certain exotic traits that then interacted with the local seed predation filter. Our results suggest that the interactions between local filters and species traits can predict invasion outcomes, but understanding the role of provenance will require quantifying filtering processes at multiple hierarchical scales and evaluating interactions between filters. PMID:25099535

  16. ESTUARINE AND SCALAR PATTERNS OF INVASION IN THE SOFT-BOTTOM BENTHIC COMMUNITIES OF THE SAN FRANCISCO ESTUARY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The spatial patterns of nonindigenous species in seven subtidal soft-bottom communities in the San Francisco Estuary were quantified. Sixty nonindigenous species were found out of the 533 taxa enumerated (11%). Patterns of invasion across the communities were evaluated using a ...

  17. Nitrogen-limitation and invasive sweetclover impacts vary between two Great Plains plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Riper, Laura C.; Larson, Diane L.; Larson, Jennifer L.

    2010-01-01

    Yellow sweetclover is an exotic herbaceous legume common in the Great Plains of the US. Although woody legumes have been shown to affect ecosystem processes through nitrogen (N) fixation (i.e., they can be considered "transformers" sensu Richardson et al. (2000)), the same has not been shown for short-lived herbaceous species. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the effects of yellow sweetclover on N mineralization and nitrification and (2) assess the effects of N fertilization on two plant communities, badlands sparse vegetation and western wheatgrass prairie. We used in situ (in wheatgrass prairie) and laboratory incubations (for both plant communities) to assess N dynamics at sites with high and low sweetclover cover in the two plant communities. We found that both N mineralization and nitrification were higher in the high sweetclover plots in the sparse plant community, but not in the wheatgrass prairie. To assess fertilization effects and determine if nutrients or water were limiting at our sites, we conducted a field experiment with five resource addition treatments, (1) N, (2) N + water, (3) water, (4) phosphorus, and (5) no addition. Water was limiting in the wheatgrass prairie but contrary to expectation, N was not. In contrast, N was limiting in the sparse community, where a fertilization effect was seen in exotic forbs, especially the toxic invader Halogeton glomeratus. Our results emphasize the contingent nature of plant invasion in which effects are largely dependent on attributes of the recipient vegetation.

  18. Treatment-based Markov chain models clarify mechanisms of invasion in an invaded grassland community.

    PubMed

    Nelis, Lisa Castillo; Wootton, J Timothy

    2010-02-22

    What are the relative roles of mechanisms underlying plant responses in grassland communities invaded by both plants and mammals? What type of community can we expect in the future given current or novel conditions? We address these questions by comparing Markov chain community models among treatments from a field experiment on invasive species on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. Because of seed dispersal, grazing and disturbance, we predicted that the exotic European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) facilitates epizoochorous exotic plants (plants with seeds that stick to the skin an animal) at the expense of native plants. To test our hypothesis, we crossed rabbit exclosure treatments with disturbance treatments, and sampled the plant community in permanent plots over 3 years. We then estimated Markov chain model transition probabilities and found significant differences among treatments. As hypothesized, this modelling revealed that exotic plants survive better in disturbed areas, while natives prefer no rabbits or disturbance. Surprisingly, rabbits negatively affect epizoochorous plants. Markov chain dynamics indicate that an overall replacement of native plants by exotic plants is underway. Using a treatment-based approach to multi-species Markov chain models allowed us to examine the changes in the importance of mechanisms in response to experimental impacts on communities.

  19. Treatment-based Markov chain models clarify mechanisms of invasion in an invaded grassland community

    PubMed Central

    Nelis, Lisa Castillo; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2010-01-01

    What are the relative roles of mechanisms underlying plant responses in grassland communities invaded by both plants and mammals? What type of community can we expect in the future given current or novel conditions? We address these questions by comparing Markov chain community models among treatments from a field experiment on invasive species on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. Because of seed dispersal, grazing and disturbance, we predicted that the exotic European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) facilitates epizoochorous exotic plants (plants with seeds that stick to the skin an animal) at the expense of native plants. To test our hypothesis, we crossed rabbit exclosure treatments with disturbance treatments, and sampled the plant community in permanent plots over 3 years. We then estimated Markov chain model transition probabilities and found significant differences among treatments. As hypothesized, this modelling revealed that exotic plants survive better in disturbed areas, while natives prefer no rabbits or disturbance. Surprisingly, rabbits negatively affect epizoochorous plants. Markov chain dynamics indicate that an overall replacement of native plants by exotic plants is underway. Using a treatment-based approach to multi-species Markov chain models allowed us to examine the changes in the importance of mechanisms in response to experimental impacts on communities. PMID:19864293

  20. The Lake Ontario zooplankton community before (1987-1991) and after (2001-2005) invasion-induced ecosystem change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, T.J.; Johannsson, O.E.; Holeck, K.; Sprules, W.G.; O'Gorman, R.

    2010-01-01

    We assessed changes in Lake Ontario zooplankton biomass, production, and community composition before (1987–1991) and after (2001–2005) invasion-induced ecosystem changes. The ecosystem changes were associated with establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels and invasive predatory cladocerans (Bythotrephes and Cercopagis). Whole-lake total epilimnetic plus metalimnetic zooplankton production declined by approximately half from 42.45 (g dry wt∙m−2∙ year−1) during 1987–1991 to 21.91 (g dry wt∙m−2∙ year−1) in 2003 and averaged 21.01 (g dry wt∙m−2∙ year−1) during 2001–2005. Analysis of two independent data sets indicates that the mean biomass and biomass proportion of cyclopoid copepods declined while the same measures increased for the invasive predatory cladocerans. Changes in means and proportions of all other zooplankton groups were not consistent between the data sets. Cyclopoid copepod biomass and production declined by factors ranging from 3.6 to 5.7. Invasive predatory cladoceran biomass averaged from 5.0% to 8.0% of the total zooplankton biomass. The zooplankton community was otherwise resilient to the invasion-induced disruption as zooplankton species richness and diversity were unaffected. Zooplankton production was likely reduced by declines in primary productivity but may have declined further due to increased predation by alewives and invasive predatory cladocerans. Shifts in zooplankton community structure were consistent with increased predation pressure on cyclopoid copepods by alewives and invasive predatory cladocerans. Predicted declines in the proportion of small cladocerans were not evident. This study represents the first direct comparison of changes in Lake Ontario zooplankton production before and after the invasion-induced disruption and will be important to food web-scale investigations of invasion effects.

  1. Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder invasion modifies trophic niche in infralittoral rocky benthic community.

    PubMed

    Alomar, Carme; Deudero, Salud; Andaloro, Franco; Castriota, Luca; Consoli, Pierpaolo; Falautano, Manuela; Sinopoli, Mauro

    2016-09-01

    The Mediterranean basin is one of the most invaded seas of the world. Invasive species have affected coastal benthic communities inducing structural changes. Since first reports, in the early 90s, Caulerpa cylindracea is considered one of the most important invasive event in the Mediterranean Sea where it has invaded large areas of soft bottoms, seagrass meadows and rocky shores. To assess effects of C. cylindracea in rocky ecosystems, benthic food webs have been compared between invaded and non-invaded coastal conditions through stable isotopes analyses. In addition, the convex hull area of the two types of conditions has been calculated as a proxy for the total extent of trophic diversity within each food web. Results have shown that the trophic niche width is at least 1.4 times wider in invaded conditions than in non-invaded conditions. In addition, this study gives further evidence of similar feeding analogies between the invasive herbivore fish, Siganus luridus and native herbivore fish Sparisoma cretense as both are feeding at the same isotopic level. This investigation provides with new scientific data to assess bionvasions in invaded and non-invaded conditions at assemblage level in coastal systems.

  2. Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder invasion modifies trophic niche in infralittoral rocky benthic community.

    PubMed

    Alomar, Carme; Deudero, Salud; Andaloro, Franco; Castriota, Luca; Consoli, Pierpaolo; Falautano, Manuela; Sinopoli, Mauro

    2016-09-01

    The Mediterranean basin is one of the most invaded seas of the world. Invasive species have affected coastal benthic communities inducing structural changes. Since first reports, in the early 90s, Caulerpa cylindracea is considered one of the most important invasive event in the Mediterranean Sea where it has invaded large areas of soft bottoms, seagrass meadows and rocky shores. To assess effects of C. cylindracea in rocky ecosystems, benthic food webs have been compared between invaded and non-invaded coastal conditions through stable isotopes analyses. In addition, the convex hull area of the two types of conditions has been calculated as a proxy for the total extent of trophic diversity within each food web. Results have shown that the trophic niche width is at least 1.4 times wider in invaded conditions than in non-invaded conditions. In addition, this study gives further evidence of similar feeding analogies between the invasive herbivore fish, Siganus luridus and native herbivore fish Sparisoma cretense as both are feeding at the same isotopic level. This investigation provides with new scientific data to assess bionvasions in invaded and non-invaded conditions at assemblage level in coastal systems. PMID:27454026

  3. Parasites alter freshwater communities in mesocosms by modifying invasive crayfish behavior.

    PubMed

    Reisinger, Lindsey S; Lodge, David M

    2016-06-01

    Parasites can alter communities by reducing densities of keystone hosts, but few studies have examined how trait-mediated indirect effects of parasites can alter ecological communities. We test how trematode parasites (Microphallus spp.) that affect invasive crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) behavior alter how crayfish impact lake littoral communities. O. rusticus drive community composition in north temperate lakes, and predatory fish can reduce crayfish activity and feeding. In laboratory studies, Microphallus parasites also alter O. rusticus behavior: infected O. rusticus eat fewer macroinvertebrates and are bolder near predatory fish than uninfected individuals. We used a 2 x 2 factorial experiment to test how predatory fish and parasites affect O. rusticus impacts in large mesocosms over 4 weeks. We predicted (1) that when predators were absent, infected crayfish would have lower impacts than uninfected crayfish on macrophytes and macroinvertebrates (as well as reduced growth and higher mortality). However, (2) when predators were present but unable to consume crayfish, infected crayfish would have greater impacts (as well as greater growth and lower mortality) than uninfected crayfish because of increased boldness. Because of its effect on crayfish feeding behavior, we also predicted (3) that infection would alter macrophyte and macroinvertebrate community composition. In contrast to our first hypothesis, we found that infected and uninfected crayfish had similar impacts on lower trophic levels when predators were absent. Across all treatments, infected crayfish were more likely to be outside shelters and had greater growth than uninfected crayfish, suggesting that the reduced feeding observed in short-term experiments does not occur over longer timescales. However, in support of the second hypothesis, when predatory fish were present, infected crayfish ate more macroinvertebrates than did uninfected crayfish, likely due to increased boldness. We also observed a

  4. Parasites alter freshwater communities in mesocosms by modifying invasive crayfish behavior.

    PubMed

    Reisinger, Lindsey S; Lodge, David M

    2016-06-01

    Parasites can alter communities by reducing densities of keystone hosts, but few studies have examined how trait-mediated indirect effects of parasites can alter ecological communities. We test how trematode parasites (Microphallus spp.) that affect invasive crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) behavior alter how crayfish impact lake littoral communities. O. rusticus drive community composition in north temperate lakes, and predatory fish can reduce crayfish activity and feeding. In laboratory studies, Microphallus parasites also alter O. rusticus behavior: infected O. rusticus eat fewer macroinvertebrates and are bolder near predatory fish than uninfected individuals. We used a 2 x 2 factorial experiment to test how predatory fish and parasites affect O. rusticus impacts in large mesocosms over 4 weeks. We predicted (1) that when predators were absent, infected crayfish would have lower impacts than uninfected crayfish on macrophytes and macroinvertebrates (as well as reduced growth and higher mortality). However, (2) when predators were present but unable to consume crayfish, infected crayfish would have greater impacts (as well as greater growth and lower mortality) than uninfected crayfish because of increased boldness. Because of its effect on crayfish feeding behavior, we also predicted (3) that infection would alter macrophyte and macroinvertebrate community composition. In contrast to our first hypothesis, we found that infected and uninfected crayfish had similar impacts on lower trophic levels when predators were absent. Across all treatments, infected crayfish were more likely to be outside shelters and had greater growth than uninfected crayfish, suggesting that the reduced feeding observed in short-term experiments does not occur over longer timescales. However, in support of the second hypothesis, when predatory fish were present, infected crayfish ate more macroinvertebrates than did uninfected crayfish, likely due to increased boldness. We also observed a

  5. [Effects of Solenopsis invicta invasion on the diversity of spider communities in a corn field].

    PubMed

    Jun, Huang; Yi-Juan, Xu; Yong-Yue, Lu; Ling, Zeng

    2012-04-01

    By using pitfall trapping and ocular estimation, this paper studied the effects of Solenopsis invicta invasion on the diversity of spider communities in a corn field. A total of 16 spider species belonging to 8 families were recorded. In the plot S. invicta invaded, there were 10 spider species of 6 families, among which, 5 species of 4 families were in pesticide-treated plot, and 11 species of 8 families were in control plot. The spiders were dominated by wandering species, mainly belonging to the families Salticidae and Oxyopidae, and the dominant species were Oxyopex sertatus, Myrmarachne joblotii, and Myrmarachne sp. In the plot S. invicta invaded, the population quantity of S. invicta began to increase steadily from the late whorl stage of corn, with the peak (225 individuals) through the earring stage, but decreased steadily thereafter, with the decrement of the spiders of genus Oxyopex reached 79.2%, while the population quantity of the spiders of genus Myrmarachne had no significant change. With the growth of corn, the species number, diversity index, and evenness index of the spiders in S. invicta-invaded and pesticide-treated plot decreased and the predominant indices increased gradually, while the situation in control plot was in adverse. It was concluded that due to the S. invicta invasion in corn field, the community structure of spiders changed.

  6. Cascading effects of fire retardant on plant-microbe interactions, community composition, and invasion.

    PubMed

    Marshall, Abigail; Waller, Lauren; Lekberg, Ylva

    2016-06-01

    Climate change, historical fire suppression, and a rise in human movements in urban-forest boundaries have resulted in an increased use of long-term fire retardant (LTFR). While LTFR is an effective fire-fighting tool, it contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, and little is known about how this nutrient pulse affects terrestrial ecosystems. We used field surveys and greenhouse experiments to quantify effects of LTFR on plant productivity, community composition, and plant interactions with the ubiquitous root symbiont arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). In the field, LTFR applications were associated with persistent shifts in plant communities toward exotic annuals with little or no dependency of AMF. Plants exposed to LTFR were less colonized by AMF, both in field surveys and in the greenhouse, and this was most likely due to the substantial and persistent increase in soil available phosphorus. All plants grew bigger with LTFR in the greenhouse, but the invasive annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) benefitted most. While LTFR can control fires, it may cause long-term changes in soil nutrient availabilities, disrupt plant interactions with beneficial soil microbes, and exasperate invasion by some exotic plants.

  7. Cascading effects of fire retardant on plant-microbe interactions, community composition, and invasion.

    PubMed

    Marshall, Abigail; Waller, Lauren; Lekberg, Ylva

    2016-06-01

    Climate change, historical fire suppression, and a rise in human movements in urban-forest boundaries have resulted in an increased use of long-term fire retardant (LTFR). While LTFR is an effective fire-fighting tool, it contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, and little is known about how this nutrient pulse affects terrestrial ecosystems. We used field surveys and greenhouse experiments to quantify effects of LTFR on plant productivity, community composition, and plant interactions with the ubiquitous root symbiont arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). In the field, LTFR applications were associated with persistent shifts in plant communities toward exotic annuals with little or no dependency of AMF. Plants exposed to LTFR were less colonized by AMF, both in field surveys and in the greenhouse, and this was most likely due to the substantial and persistent increase in soil available phosphorus. All plants grew bigger with LTFR in the greenhouse, but the invasive annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) benefitted most. While LTFR can control fires, it may cause long-term changes in soil nutrient availabilities, disrupt plant interactions with beneficial soil microbes, and exasperate invasion by some exotic plants. PMID:27509743

  8. Estimation of the number of founders of an invasive pest insect population: the fire ant Solenopsis incivta in the United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Determination of the number of founders responsible for the establishment of invasive plant and animal populations is important for developing biologically based management practices, predicting the invasive potential of species, and making inferences about basic ecological and evolutionary processe...

  9. Ecosystem engineering of harvester ants: effects on vegetation in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gosselin, Elyce N; Holbrook, Joseph D.; Huggler, Katey; Brown, Emily; Vierling, Kerri T.; Arkle, Robert; Pilliod, David

    2016-01-01

    Harvester ants are influential in many ecosystems because they distribute and consume seeds, remove vegetation, and redistribute soil particles and nutrients. Understanding the interaction between harvester ants and plant communities is important for management and restoration efforts, particularly in systems altered by fire and invasive species such as the sagebrush-steppe. Our objective was to evaluate how vegetation cover changed as a function of distance from Owyhee harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex salinus) nests within a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. We sampled 105 harvester ant nests within southern Idaho, USA, that occurred in different habitats: annual grassland, perennial grassland, and native shrubland. The influence of Owyhee harvester ants on vegetation was larger at the edge of ant nests, but the relationship was inconsistent among plant species. Percent cover was positively associated with distance from harvester ant nests for plant species that were considered undesirable food sources and were densely distributed. However, percent cover was negatively associated with distance-from-nests for patchily distributed and desirable plant species. For some plant species, there was no change in cover associated with distance-from-nests. Total vegetation cover was associated with distance-from-nests in the shrubland habitat but not in the 2 grasslands. The dominant plant species in the shrubland habitat was a densely distributed shrub (winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata) that was defoliated by harvester ants. Our results suggest that Owyhee harvester ants increase spatial heterogeneity in plant communities through plant clearing, but the direction and magnitude of effect will likely be contingent on the dominant vegetation groups. This information may inform future management and plant restoration efforts in sagebrush-steppe by directly considering the islands of influence associated with harvester ant engineering.

  10. Bacterial community structure in freshwater springs infested with the invasive plant species Hydrilla verticillata

    PubMed Central

    Gordon-Bradley, N.; Li, N.

    2015-01-01

    The phylogenetic composition and physiological profiles of bacterial communities in freshwater springs were evaluated during the blooming and non-blooming stages of the invasive plant species, Hydrilla verticillata. Community-level physiological profiles (CLPPs) and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons were used to study potential Hydrilla mediated shifts in the physiological potential and phylogenetic composition of the bacterial community in infested systems. The results of CLPP revealed that the microbes in the Hydrilla invaded sites utilized less substrates during blooming periods than during nonblooming periods of the plant. Spearman’s rank correlation analysis showed some relationships between the relative abundances of bacterial taxa and the Biolog substrate utilization pattern. The relative abundance of the identified taxa showed some striking differences based on the blooming status of Hydrilla and to a lesser extent on site variation. The relative abundance of Actinobacteria, Bacteriodetes, and Verrucomicrobia was generally higher during Hydrilla blooms, while Deltaproteobacteria was generally higher during non-blooming stages of Hydrilla. The detected genera also varied based on the blooming stages of the plant. Based on the findings, it appears that Hydrilla alters the phylogenetic composition and structure of the bacterial community during the blooming stage. PMID:26207069

  11. Ant Tower

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Shinotsuka, Sho; Hu, David

    2010-11-01

    Ants walk via adhesive drops of fluid extruded by their feet. They also use these drops as mortar to build structures such as rafts, bridges and towers, each composed of thousands of ants linked together. We investigate experimentally the construction of triangular ant towers braced by hydrophobic walls. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between tower height and contact angle hysteresis of the wall. We rationalize tower height according to ant adhesion, and tower shape according to the constraints on a column of constant strength.

  12. Host and Environmental Specificity in Bacterial Communities Associated to Two Highly Invasive Marine Species (Genus Asparagopsis).

    PubMed

    Aires, Tânia; Serrão, Ester A; Engelen, Aschwin H

    2016-01-01

    As habitats change due to global and local pressures, population resilience, and adaptive processes depend not only on their gene pools but also on their associated bacteria communities. The hologenome can play a determinant role in adaptive evolution of higher organisms that rely on their bacterial associates for vital processes. In this study, we focus on the associated bacteria of the two most invasive seaweeds in southwest Iberia (coastal mainland) and nearby offshore Atlantic islands, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata. Bacterial communities were characterized using 16S rRNA barcoding through 454 next generation sequencing and exploratory shotgun metagenomics to provide functional insights and a backbone for future functional studies. The bacterial community composition was clearly different between the two species A. taxiformis and A. armata and between continental and island habitats. The latter was mainly due to higher abundances of Acidimicrobiales, Sphingomonadales, Xanthomonadales, Myxococcales, and Alteromonadales on the continent. Metabolic assignments for these groups contained a higher number of reads in functions related to oxidative stress and resistance to toxic compounds, more precisely heavy metals. These results are in agreement with their usual association with hydrocarbon degradation and heavy-metals detoxification. In contrast, A. taxiformis from islands contained more bacteria related to oligotrophic environments which might putatively play a role in mineralization of dissolved organic matter. The higher number of functional assignments found in the metagenomes of A. taxiformis collected from Cape Verde Islands suggest a higher contribution of bacteria to compensate nutrient limitation in oligotrophic environments. Our results show that Asparagopsis-associated bacterial communities have host-specificity and are modulated by environmental conditions. Whether this environmental effect reflects the host's selective requirements or

  13. Host and Environmental Specificity in Bacterial Communities Associated to Two Highly Invasive Marine Species (Genus Asparagopsis)

    PubMed Central

    Aires, Tânia; Serrão, Ester A.; Engelen, Aschwin H.

    2016-01-01

    As habitats change due to global and local pressures, population resilience, and adaptive processes depend not only on their gene pools but also on their associated bacteria communities. The hologenome can play a determinant role in adaptive evolution of higher organisms that rely on their bacterial associates for vital processes. In this study, we focus on the associated bacteria of the two most invasive seaweeds in southwest Iberia (coastal mainland) and nearby offshore Atlantic islands, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata. Bacterial communities were characterized using 16S rRNA barcoding through 454 next generation sequencing and exploratory shotgun metagenomics to provide functional insights and a backbone for future functional studies. The bacterial community composition was clearly different between the two species A. taxiformis and A. armata and between continental and island habitats. The latter was mainly due to higher abundances of Acidimicrobiales, Sphingomonadales, Xanthomonadales, Myxococcales, and Alteromonadales on the continent. Metabolic assignments for these groups contained a higher number of reads in functions related to oxidative stress and resistance to toxic compounds, more precisely heavy metals. These results are in agreement with their usual association with hydrocarbon degradation and heavy-metals detoxification. In contrast, A. taxiformis from islands contained more bacteria related to oligotrophic environments which might putatively play a role in mineralization of dissolved organic matter. The higher number of functional assignments found in the metagenomes of A. taxiformis collected from Cape Verde Islands suggest a higher contribution of bacteria to compensate nutrient limitation in oligotrophic environments. Our results show that Asparagopsis-associated bacterial communities have host-specificity and are modulated by environmental conditions. Whether this environmental effect reflects the host's selective requirements or

  14. Host and Environmental Specificity in Bacterial Communities Associated to Two Highly Invasive Marine Species (Genus Asparagopsis).

    PubMed

    Aires, Tânia; Serrão, Ester A; Engelen, Aschwin H

    2016-01-01

    As habitats change due to global and local pressures, population resilience, and adaptive processes depend not only on their gene pools but also on their associated bacteria communities. The hologenome can play a determinant role in adaptive evolution of higher organisms that rely on their bacterial associates for vital processes. In this study, we focus on the associated bacteria of the two most invasive seaweeds in southwest Iberia (coastal mainland) and nearby offshore Atlantic islands, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata. Bacterial communities were characterized using 16S rRNA barcoding through 454 next generation sequencing and exploratory shotgun metagenomics to provide functional insights and a backbone for future functional studies. The bacterial community composition was clearly different between the two species A. taxiformis and A. armata and between continental and island habitats. The latter was mainly due to higher abundances of Acidimicrobiales, Sphingomonadales, Xanthomonadales, Myxococcales, and Alteromonadales on the continent. Metabolic assignments for these groups contained a higher number of reads in functions related to oxidative stress and resistance to toxic compounds, more precisely heavy metals. These results are in agreement with their usual association with hydrocarbon degradation and heavy-metals detoxification. In contrast, A. taxiformis from islands contained more bacteria related to oligotrophic environments which might putatively play a role in mineralization of dissolved organic matter. The higher number of functional assignments found in the metagenomes of A. taxiformis collected from Cape Verde Islands suggest a higher contribution of bacteria to compensate nutrient limitation in oligotrophic environments. Our results show that Asparagopsis-associated bacterial communities have host-specificity and are modulated by environmental conditions. Whether this environmental effect reflects the host's selective requirements or

  15. Oral Samples as Non-Invasive Proxies for Assessing the Composition of the Rumen Microbial Community

    PubMed Central

    Tapio, Ilma; Shingfield, Kevin J.; McKain, Nest; Bonin, Aurélie; Fischer, Daniel; Bayat, Ali R.; Vilkki, Johanna; Taberlet, Pierre; Snelling, Timothy J.; Wallace, R. John

    2016-01-01

    Microbial community analysis was carried out on ruminal digesta obtained directly via rumen fistula and buccal fluid, regurgitated digesta (bolus) and faeces of dairy cattle to assess if non-invasive samples could be used as proxies for ruminal digesta. Samples were collected from five cows receiving grass silage based diets containing no additional lipid or four different lipid supplements in a 5 x 5 Latin square design. Extracted DNA was analysed by qPCR and by sequencing 16S and 18S rRNA genes or the fungal ITS1 amplicons. Faeces contained few protozoa, and bacterial, fungal and archaeal communities were substantially different to ruminal digesta. Buccal and bolus samples gave much more similar profiles to ruminal digesta, although fewer archaea were detected in buccal and bolus samples. Bolus samples overall were most similar to ruminal samples. The differences between both buccal and bolus samples and ruminal digesta were consistent across all treatments. It can be concluded that either proxy sample type could be used as a predictor of the rumen microbial community, thereby enabling more convenient large-scale animal sampling for phenotyping and possible use in future animal breeding programs aimed at selecting cattle with a lower environmental footprint. PMID:26986467

  16. Monitoring the dynamics of an invasive emergent macrophyte community using operational remote sensing data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Albright, T.P.; Ode, D.J.

    2011-01-01

    Potamogeton crispus L. (curly pondweed) is a cosmopolitan aquatic macrophyte considered invasive in North America and elsewhere. Its range is expanding and, on individual water bodies, its coverage can be dynamic both within and among years. In this study, we evaluate the use of free and low-cost satellite remote sensing data to monitor a problematic emergent macrophyte community dominated by P. crispus. Between 2000 and 2006, we acquired eight satellite images of 24,000-ha Lake Sharpe, South Dakota (USA). During one of the dates for which satellite imagery was acquired, we sampled the lake for P. crispus and other emergent macrophytes using GPS and photography for documentation. We used cluster analysis to assist in classification of the satellite imagery and independently validated results using the field data. Resulting estimates of emergent macrophyte coverage ranged from less than 20 ha in 2002 to 245 ha in 2004. Accuracy assessment indicated 82% of image pixels were correctly classified, with errors being primarily due to failure to identify emergent macrophytes. These results emphasize the dynamic nature of P. crispus-dominated macrophyte communities and show how they can be effectively monitored over large areas using low-cost remote sensing imagery. While results may vary in other systems depending on water quality and local flora, such an approach could be applied elsewhere and for a variety of macrophyte communities. ?? Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

  17. Oral Samples as Non-Invasive Proxies for Assessing the Composition of the Rumen Microbial Community.

    PubMed

    Tapio, Ilma; Shingfield, Kevin J; McKain, Nest; Bonin, Aurélie; Fischer, Daniel; Bayat, Ali R; Vilkki, Johanna; Taberlet, Pierre; Snelling, Timothy J; Wallace, R John

    2016-01-01

    Microbial community analysis was carried out on ruminal digesta obtained directly via rumen fistula and buccal fluid, regurgitated digesta (bolus) and faeces of dairy cattle to assess if non-invasive samples could be used as proxies for ruminal digesta. Samples were collected from five cows receiving grass silage based diets containing no additional lipid or four different lipid supplements in a 5 x 5 Latin square design. Extracted DNA was analysed by qPCR and by sequencing 16S and 18S rRNA genes or the fungal ITS1 amplicons. Faeces contained few protozoa, and bacterial, fungal and archaeal communities were substantially different to ruminal digesta. Buccal and bolus samples gave much more similar profiles to ruminal digesta, although fewer archaea were detected in buccal and bolus samples. Bolus samples overall were most similar to ruminal samples. The differences between both buccal and bolus samples and ruminal digesta were consistent across all treatments. It can be concluded that either proxy sample type could be used as a predictor of the rumen microbial community, thereby enabling more convenient large-scale animal sampling for phenotyping and possible use in future animal breeding programs aimed at selecting cattle with a lower environmental footprint. PMID:26986467

  18. Cellulose-Enriched Microbial Communities from Leaf-Cutter Ant (Atta colombica) Refuse Dumps Vary in Taxonomic Composition and Degradation Ability

    DOE PAGES

    Lewin, Gina R.; Johnson, Amanda L.; Soto, Rolando D. Moreira; Perry, Kailene; Book, Adam J.; Horn, Heidi A.; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2016-03-21

    Deconstruction of the cellulose in plant cell walls is critical for carbon flow through ecosystems and for the production of sustainable cellulosic biofuels. Our understanding of cellulose deconstruction is largely limited to the study of microbes in isolation, but in nature, this process is driven by microbes within complex communities. In Neotropical forests, microbes in leaf-cutter ant refuse dumps are important for carbon turnover. These dumps consist of decaying plant material and a diverse bacterial community, as shown here by electron microscopy. To study the portion of the community capable of cellulose degradation, we performed enrichments on cellulose using materialmore » from five Atta colombica refuse dumps. The ability of enriched communities to degrade cellulose varied significantly across refuse dumps. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of enriched samples identified that the community structure correlated with refuse dump and with degradation ability. Overall, samples were dominated by Bacteroidetes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Half of abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across samples were classified within general containing known cellulose degraders, including Acidovorax, the most abundant OTU detected across samples, which was positively correlated with cellulolytic ability. Lastly, a representative Acidovorax strain was isolated, but did not grow on cellulose alone. Phenotypic and compositional analyses of enrichment cultures, such as those presented here, help link community composition with cellulolytic ability and provide insight into the complexity of community-based cellulose degradation.« less

  19. Cellulose-Enriched Microbial Communities from Leaf-Cutter Ant (Atta colombica) Refuse Dumps Vary in Taxonomic Composition and Degradation Ability.

    PubMed

    Lewin, Gina R; Johnson, Amanda L; Soto, Rolando D Moreira; Perry, Kailene; Book, Adam J; Horn, Heidi A; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A; Currie, Cameron R

    2016-01-01

    Deconstruction of the cellulose in plant cell walls is critical for carbon flow through ecosystems and for the production of sustainable cellulosic biofuels. Our understanding of cellulose deconstruction is largely limited to the study of microbes in isolation, but in nature, this process is driven by microbes within complex communities. In Neotropical forests, microbes in leaf-cutter ant refuse dumps are important for carbon turnover. These dumps consist of decaying plant material and a diverse bacterial community, as shown here by electron microscopy. To study the portion of the community capable of cellulose degradation, we performed enrichments on cellulose using material from five Atta colombica refuse dumps. The ability of enriched communities to degrade cellulose varied significantly across refuse dumps. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of enriched samples identified that the community structure correlated with refuse dump and with degradation ability. Overall, samples were dominated by Bacteroidetes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Half of abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across samples were classified within genera containing known cellulose degraders, including Acidovorax, the most abundant OTU detected across samples, which was positively correlated with cellulolytic ability. A representative Acidovorax strain was isolated, but did not grow on cellulose alone. Phenotypic and compositional analyses of enrichment cultures, such as those presented here, help link community composition with cellulolytic ability and provide insight into the complexity of community-based cellulose degradation.

  20. Cellulose-Enriched Microbial Communities from Leaf-Cutter Ant (Atta colombica) Refuse Dumps Vary in Taxonomic Composition and Degradation Ability.

    PubMed

    Lewin, Gina R; Johnson, Amanda L; Soto, Rolando D Moreira; Perry, Kailene; Book, Adam J; Horn, Heidi A; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A; Currie, Cameron R

    2016-01-01

    Deconstruction of the cellulose in plant cell walls is critical for carbon flow through ecosystems and for the production of sustainable cellulosic biofuels. Our understanding of cellulose deconstruction is largely limited to the study of microbes in isolation, but in nature, this process is driven by microbes within complex communities. In Neotropical forests, microbes in leaf-cutter ant refuse dumps are important for carbon turnover. These dumps consist of decaying plant material and a diverse bacterial community, as shown here by electron microscopy. To study the portion of the community capable of cellulose degradation, we performed enrichments on cellulose using material from five Atta colombica refuse dumps. The ability of enriched communities to degrade cellulose varied significantly across refuse dumps. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of enriched samples identified that the community structure correlated with refuse dump and with degradation ability. Overall, samples were dominated by Bacteroidetes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Half of abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across samples were classified within genera containing known cellulose degraders, including Acidovorax, the most abundant OTU detected across samples, which was positively correlated with cellulolytic ability. A representative Acidovorax strain was isolated, but did not grow on cellulose alone. Phenotypic and compositional analyses of enrichment cultures, such as those presented here, help link community composition with cellulolytic ability and provide insight into the complexity of community-based cellulose degradation. PMID:26999749

  1. Cellulose-Enriched Microbial Communities from Leaf-Cutter Ant (Atta colombica) Refuse Dumps Vary in Taxonomic Composition and Degradation Ability

    PubMed Central

    Lewin, Gina R.; Johnson, Amanda L.; Soto, Rolando D. Moreira; Perry, Kailene; Book, Adam J.; Horn, Heidi A.; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2016-01-01

    Deconstruction of the cellulose in plant cell walls is critical for carbon flow through ecosystems and for the production of sustainable cellulosic biofuels. Our understanding of cellulose deconstruction is largely limited to the study of microbes in isolation, but in nature, this process is driven by microbes within complex communities. In Neotropical forests, microbes in leaf-cutter ant refuse dumps are important for carbon turnover. These dumps consist of decaying plant material and a diverse bacterial community, as shown here by electron microscopy. To study the portion of the community capable of cellulose degradation, we performed enrichments on cellulose using material from five Atta colombica refuse dumps. The ability of enriched communities to degrade cellulose varied significantly across refuse dumps. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of enriched samples identified that the community structure correlated with refuse dump and with degradation ability. Overall, samples were dominated by Bacteroidetes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Half of abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across samples were classified within genera containing known cellulose degraders, including Acidovorax, the most abundant OTU detected across samples, which was positively correlated with cellulolytic ability. A representative Acidovorax strain was isolated, but did not grow on cellulose alone. Phenotypic and compositional analyses of enrichment cultures, such as those presented here, help link community composition with cellulolytic ability and provide insight into the complexity of community-based cellulose degradation. PMID:26999749

  2. Early detection of potentially invasive invertebrate species in Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 dominated communities in harbours

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preda, Cristina; Memedemin, Daniyar; Skolka, Marius; Cogălniceanu, Dan

    2012-12-01

    Constanţa harbour is a major port on the western coast of the semi-enclosed Black Sea. Its brackish waters and low species richness make it vulnerable to invasions. The intensive maritime traffic through Constanţa harbour facilitates the arrival of alien species. We investigated the species composition of the mussel beds on vertical artificial concrete substrate inside the harbour. We selected this habitat for study because it is frequently affected by fluctuating levels of temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen, and by accidental pollution episodes. The shallow communities inhabiting it are thus unstable and often restructured, prone to accept alien species. Monthly samples were collected from three locations from the upper layer of hard artificial substrata (maximum depth 2 m) during two consecutive years. Ten alien macro-invertebrate species were inventoried, representing 13.5% of the total number of species. Two of these alien species were sampled starting the end of summer 2010, following a period of high temperatures that triggered hypoxia, causing mass mortalities of benthic organisms. Based on the species accumulation curve, we estimated that we have detected all benthic alien species on artificial substrate from Constanţa harbour, but additional effort is required to detect all the native species. Our results suggest that monitoring of benthic communities at small depths in harbours is a simple and useful tool in early detection of potentially invasive alien species. The selected habitat is easily accessible, the method is low-cost, and the samples represent reliable indicators of alien species establishment.

  3. Invasive symbiont bearing (and other) foraminifera altering the community structure of eastern Mediterranean rocky reefs environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hyams-Kaphzan, Orit; Perelis Grossowicz, Lydia; Almogi-Labin, Ahuva

    2015-04-01

    The rocky reefs of the Israeli eastern Mediterranean shelf constitute a highly diverse marine ecosystem rich in macroalgae and calcareous organisms. The benthic foraminiferal community living in this ecosystem is rapidly changing due to massive invasion of symbiont bearing foraminifera (SBF) as well as other foraminiferal species of tropical origin. This trend facilitated by the ongoing increase in temperature enables more tropical species to adjust to the eastern Mediterranean habitats. In order to document the status of the benthic foraminiferal community structure rocky reefs at Akhziv (AK) and Carmel Head (CH), northern Israel were sampled by scuba diving. Different macroalgae species, including invasive ones, accommodating the live epiphytic benthic foraminifera were sampled twice a year at AK and in each season at CH in three depth intervals between 5-20 m, during 2013-4. The numerical abundance of the group ranges between 170-3500 #/10cc (wet macroalgae volume) without any significant difference in standing stocks within regions, water depths or macroalgae preference. In total 77 benthic foraminiferal species were identified 71 in CH and only 43 at AK. Species richness per site varied between 3 and 42 with higher values at CH. 25% of all species were aliens, mostly Lessepsian, that comprise on average 70% - 84% of the numerical abundance of AK and CH respectively. Cluster analysis using benthic foraminifera relative abundance data did not correlate with the different macroalgae species, water depths or seasonality, indicating that the foraminiferal community in the two regions is quite homogenous. Amphistegina lobifera a Lessepsian migrant is by far the most common species on the Israeli rocky reefs occurring in all samples and comprising 18-93% of the foraminiferal community. Heterostegina depressa behaves similarly to A. lobifera though it occurs in lower numbers. Pararotalia calcariformata, a recently arriving SBF occupies mainly shallow water sites at CH

  4. Consequences of forest clear-cuts for native and nonindigenous ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zettler, J.A.; Taylor, M.D.; Allen, C.R.; Spira, T.P.

    2004-01-01

    Currently, the southern United States produces more timber than any other region in the world. Entire timber stands are removed through a harvesting method called clear-cutting. This common forestry practice may lead to the replacement of native ant communities with invasive, nonindigenous species. In four deciduous forest sites in South Carolina, we monitored the change in ant species richness, diversity, and abundance immediately after forest clearing for a period of 15 mo to 2 yr and determined the incidence of colonization of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta into these four newly disturbed sites. Each site consisted of an uncut, forested plot and a logged, pine-planted plot. Fire ants were collected in clear-cuts as early as 3 mo postcutting, and by the end of the experiment, they were found in all four treatment sites. Our study is the first to document, through a controlled experiment, that clear-cutting alters ant species assemblages by increasing S. invicta and Pheidole spp. populations and significantly reducing native ant numbers. Long-term studies are needed to assess how replacing native deciduous forests with pine monocultures affects ant assemblages. ?? 2004 Entomological Society of America.

  5. Urban Pest Management of Ants in California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Keeping pace with the dynamic and evolving landscape of invasive ants in California presents a formidable challenge to the pest management industry. Pest management professionals (PMPs) are on the frontlines when it comes to battling these exotic ant pests, and are often the first ones to intercept ...

  6. Recovery dynamics and invasibility of herbaceous plant communities after exposure to fifty-year climate extremes in different seasons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreesen, F. E.; De Boeck, H. J.; Janssens, I. A.; Nijs, I.

    2013-10-01

    Disturbance events such as climatic extremes may enhance the invasibility of plant communities, through the creation of gaps and the associated local increase in available resources. In this study, experimental herbaceous communities consisting of three species were subjected to 50 yr extreme drought and/or heat events, in spring, summer or autumn. In the year of the induced extremes, species mortality and end-of-season biomass were examined. In two subsequent years without further disturbances, establishment of new species was recorded. The drought and drought + heat extremes in summer and autumn induced greater plant mortality compared with the heat extremes in those seasons and compared with all extremes applied in spring, in all three originally planted species. Recovery in terms of biomass towards the end of the growing season, however, was species-specific. The dominant species, the nitrogen fixer Trifolium repens, recovered poorly from the drought and drought + heat extremes which governed the community response. Community biomass, which was heavily affected by the drought and especially by the drought + heat events in summer and autumn, reached control values already one year later. Invasibility was increased in the communities that underwent the drought + heat extremes in the first year following the extreme events, but no longer in the second year. During the two years of invasion, the community composition changed, but independently of the type and impact of the extreme event. In short, the extreme climate events greatly affected the survival and productivity of the species, modified the species composition and dominance patterns, and increased the invasibility of our plant communities. However, none of these community properties seemed to be affected in the long term, as the induced responses faded out after one or two years.

  7. Where do adaptive shifts occur during invasion A multidisciplinary approach to unravel cold adaptation in a tropical ant species invading the Mediterranean zone

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Although evolution is now recognized as improving the invasive success of populations, where and when key adaptation event(s) occur often remains unclear. Here we used a multidisciplinary approach to disentangle the eco-evolutionary scenario of invasion of a Mediterranean zone (i.e. Israel) by the t...

  8. Effects of the emerald ash borer invasion on the community composition of arthropods associated with ash tree boles

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire is an invasive non-native wood-boring beetle that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in North America, and threatens to extirpate the ecological services provided by the genus. Identifying the arthropod community assoc...

  9. Molecular approach to describing a seed-based food web: the post-dispersal granivore community of an invasive plant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We adapted protein-marking techniques and gut content analysis to study the relative granivore communities of the invasive plant, dandelion, in its recipient and native ranges. Dandelion seeds marked with Rabbit IgG were disseminated into plots that had high dandelion populations in recipient habita...

  10. Soil yeast communities under the aggressive invasion of Sosnowsky's hogweed ( Heracleum sosnowskyi)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glushakova, A. M.; Kachalkin, A. V.; Chernov, I. Yu.

    2015-02-01

    The year-round dynamics of the number and taxonomic composition of yeast communities in the soddy-podzolic soils under invasive thickets of Heracleum sosnowskyi were investigated. The yeast groups that are formed in the soil under the continuous Sosnowsky's hogweed thickets significantly differ from the indigenous yeast communities under the adjacent meadows. In the soils of both biotopes, typical eurybiotic yeast species predominate. In the soil under Heracleum sosnowskyi, the share of the ascomycetes Candida vartiovaarae and Wickerhamomyces anomalus is much lower, and the portion of yeast-like fungi with high hydrolytic activity such as Trichosporon moniliforme and Trichosporon porosum is greater. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that Sosnowsky's hogweed, unlike most aboriginal meadow grasses, does not hibernate with green leaves that do not gradually die out with the formation of semidecomposed plant residues—the main source of nutrients for the soil-litter microbial complex. In addition, grasses of the lower layer do not develop under Sosnowsky's hogweed due to the strong shading and allelopathic impact preventing the development of typical epiphytic copiotrophic species of yeasts.

  11. The effects of mesquite invasion on a southeastern Arizona grassland bird community

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lloyd, J.; Mannan, R.W.; DeStefano, S.; Kirkpatrick, C.

    1998-01-01

    We determined which vegetal features influenced the distribution and abundance of grassland birds at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona. The density and distribution of mesquite (Prosopis velutina) exerted the strongest influence on the grassland bird community. Abundances of Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus; r2 = 0.363, P = 0.025) and Lucy's Warbler (Vermivora luciae; r2 = 0.348, P = 0.04), and total abundance of birds (r2 = 0.358, P = 0.04) were positively correlated with increasing density of mesquite (Prosopis velutina), whereas abundance of Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus; r2 = 0.452, P = 0.02) was negatively correlated with increasing mesquite density. Abundance of Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus; r2 = 0.693, P < 0.001) was positively correlated with an increasing patchiness of mesquite. Shrub-dependent bird species dominated the community, accounting for 12 of the 18 species and 557 of the 815 individuals detected. Species relying on extensive areas of open grassland were largely absent from the study area, perhaps a result of the recent invasion of mesquite into this semi-desert grassland.

  12. Soil microbial community structure is unaltered by plant invasion, vegetation clipping, and nitrogen fertilization in experimental semi-arid grasslands.

    PubMed

    Carey, Chelsea J; Beman, J Michael; Eviner, Valerie T; Malmstrom, Carolyn M; Hart, Stephen C

    2015-01-01

    Global and regional environmental changes often co-occur, creating complex gradients of disturbance on the landscape. Soil microbial communities are an important component of ecosystem response to environmental change, yet little is known about how microbial structure and function respond to multiple disturbances, or whether multiple environmental changes lead to unanticipated interactive effects. Our study used experimental semi-arid grassland plots in a Mediterranean-climate to determine how soil microbial communities in a seasonally variable ecosystem respond to one, two, or three simultaneous environmental changes: exotic plant invasion, plant invasion + vegetation clipping (to simulate common management practices like mowing or livestock grazing), plant invasion + nitrogen (N) fertilization, and plant invasion + clipping + N fertilization. We examined microbial community structure 5-6 years after plot establishment via sequencing of >1 million 16S rRNA genes. Abiotic soil properties (soil moisture, temperature, pH, and inorganic N) and microbial functioning (nitrification and denitrification potentials) were also measured and showed treatment-induced shifts, including altered NO(-) 3 availability, temperature, and nitrification potential. Despite these changes, bacterial and archaeal communities showed little variation in composition and diversity across treatments. Even communities in plots exposed to three interacting environmental changes were similar to those in restored native grassland plots. Historical exposure to large seasonal and inter-annual variations in key soil properties, in addition to prior site cultivation, may select for a functionally plastic or largely dormant microbial community, resulting in a microbial community that is structurally robust to single and multiple environmental changes.

  13. Soil microbial community structure is unaltered by plant invasion, vegetation clipping, and nitrogen fertilization in experimental semi-arid grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Carey, Chelsea J.; Beman, J. Michael; Eviner, Valerie T.; Malmstrom, Carolyn M.; Hart, Stephen C.

    2015-01-01

    Global and regional environmental changes often co-occur, creating complex gradients of disturbance on the landscape. Soil microbial communities are an important component of ecosystem response to environmental change, yet little is known about how microbial structure and function respond to multiple disturbances, or whether multiple environmental changes lead to unanticipated interactive effects. Our study used experimental semi-arid grassland plots in a Mediterranean-climate to determine how soil microbial communities in a seasonally variable ecosystem respond to one, two, or three simultaneous environmental changes: exotic plant invasion, plant invasion + vegetation clipping (to simulate common management practices like mowing or livestock grazing), plant invasion + nitrogen (N) fertilization, and plant invasion + clipping + N fertilization. We examined microbial community structure 5–6 years after plot establishment via sequencing of >1 million 16S rRNA genes. Abiotic soil properties (soil moisture, temperature, pH, and inorganic N) and microbial functioning (nitrification and denitrification potentials) were also measured and showed treatment-induced shifts, including altered NO−3 availability, temperature, and nitrification potential. Despite these changes, bacterial and archaeal communities showed little variation in composition and diversity across treatments. Even communities in plots exposed to three interacting environmental changes were similar to those in restored native grassland plots. Historical exposure to large seasonal and inter-annual variations in key soil properties, in addition to prior site cultivation, may select for a functionally plastic or largely dormant microbial community, resulting in a microbial community that is structurally robust to single and multiple environmental changes. PMID:26042104

  14. Fire ant control with Entomopathogens in the USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants, Solenopsis richteri and Solenopsis invicta, are stinging invasive ants from South America that infest over 129.5 million hectares in the southern United States. In the southern U.S., eradication is no longer considered possible and toxicant-based fire ant baiting is currently the primary...

  15. [Effect of collect time on communities of epigaeic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in areas of Eucalyptus cloeziana and cerrado].

    PubMed

    Tavares, Antônio A; Bispo, Pitágoras C; Zanzini, Antônio C

    2008-01-01

    This study aimed at evaluating the effect of collect time (day and night) on ant fauna attracted to baits in areas of Eucalyptus cloeziana (Myrtaceae) and cerrado. The ants were collected in Fazenda Boa Vista, Mannesmann Fi - El Florestal Ltda, Paineiras, Minas Gerais State. Eigthteen sample units were collected: 12 in E. cloezina and six in cerrado. Each sample unit consisted of three plots (25 x 35 m each). The plot consisted of 34 baits distributed in a grid pattern at 5 m intervals. The sampling was carried out in the diurnal and nocturnal period. The results obtained revealed that both type of vegetation (cerrado x Eucalyptus) and the collect time (day x night) had a significative influence on the epigaeic ant fauna. The ordination (DCA) indicated that collect time effect was more important to fauna structuration than the vegetation effect. Brachymyrmex sp.1, Brachymyrmex sp.2, Camponotus crassus Mayr, Camponotus rufipes (Fabricius), Cephalotes pusillus (Klug) and Ectatomma brunneum Smith were indicator species of nocturnal period, and Camponotus renggeri-Emery, Camponotus atriceps (Smith), Camponotus melanoticus Emery and Paratrechina sp.1 were indicators of nocturnal period.

  16. The effects of insects, nutrients, and plant invasion on community structure and function above-and belowground

    PubMed Central

    Wright, Phoebe; Cregger, Melissa A; Souza, Lara; Sanders, Nathan J; Classen, Aimée T

    2014-01-01

    Soil nutrient availability, invasive plants, and insect presence can directly alter ecosystem structure and function, but less is known about how these factors may interact. In this 6-year study in an old-field ecosystem, we manipulated insect abundance (reduced and control), the propagule pressure of an invasive nitrogen-fixing plant (propagules added and control), and soil nutrient availability (nitrogen added, nitrogen reduced and control) in a fully crossed, completely randomized plot design. We found that nutrient amendment and, occasionally, insect abundance interacted with the propagule pressure of an invasive plant to alter above-and belowground structure and function at our site. Not surprisingly, nutrient amendment had a direct effect on aboveground biomass and soil nutrient mineralization. The introduction of invasive nitrogen-fixing plant propagules interacted with nutrient amendment and insect presence to alter soil bacterial abundance and the activity of the microbial community. While the larger-scale, longer-term bulk measurements such as biomass production and nutrient mineralization responded to the direct effects of our treatments, the shorter-term and dynamic microbial communities tended to respond to interactions among our treatments. Our results indicate that soil nutrients, invasive plants, and insect herbivores determine both above-and belowground responses, but whether such effects are independent versus interdependent varies with scale. PMID:24683456

  17. The invasive spider mite Tetranychus evansi (Acari: Tetranychidae) alters community composition and host-plant use of native relatives.

    PubMed

    Ferragut, Francisco; Garzón-Luque, Eva; Pekas, Apostolos

    2013-07-01

    The tomato spider mite Tetranychus evansi Baker and Pritchard (Acari: Tetranychidae), is a worldwide pest of solanaceous crops that has recently invaded many parts of the world. In the present study we examined the ecological impact of its arrival in the Mediterranean region. The spider mite and phytoseiid mite assemblages in various crop and non-crop plants in three areas of Valencia (Spain) were studied a few months before and 10 years after the invasion of T. evansi. According to rarefaction analyses, the invasion of T. evansi did not affect neither the total number of species in the mite community examined (spider mite and phytoseiid species) nor the number of species when the two communities were examined separately. However, after the invasion, the absolute and relative abundance of the native Tetranychus species was significantly reduced. Before the invasion, T. urticae and T. turkestani were the most abundant spider mites, accounting for 62.9 and 22.8 % of the specimens. After the invasion, T. evansi became the most abundant species, representing 60 % of the total spider mites recorded, whereas the abundance of T. urticae was significantly reduced (23 %). This reduction took place principally on non-crop plants, where native species were replaced by the invader. Null model analyses provided evidence for competition structuring the spider mite community on non-crop plants after the invasion of T. evansi. Resistance to acaricides, the absence of efficient native natural enemies, manipulation of the plant defenses and the web type produced by T. evansi are discussed as possible causes for the competitive displacement.

  18. Shifts in methanogen community structure and function across a coastal marsh transect: effects of exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2016-01-01

    Invasion of Spartina alterniflora in coastal areas of China increased methane (CH4) emissions. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we measured CH4 production potential, methanogen community structure and biogeochemical factors along a coastal wetland transect comprised of five habitat regions: open water, bare tidal flat, invasive S. alterniflora marsh and native Suaeda salsa and Phragmites australis marshes. CH4 production potential in S. alterniflora marsh was 10 times higher than that in other regions, and it was significantly correlated with soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and trimethylamine concentrations, but was not correlated with acetate or formate concentrations. Although the diversity of methanogens was lowest in S. alterniflora marsh, invasion increased methanogen abundance by 3.48-fold, compared with native S. salsa and P. australis marshes due to increase of facultative Methanosarcinaceae rather than acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Ordination analyses suggested that trimethylamine was the primary factor regulating shift in methanogen community structure. Addition of trimethylamine increased CH4 production rates by 1255-fold but only by 5.61- and 11.4-fold for acetate and H2/CO2, respectively. S. alterniflora invasion elevated concentration of non-competitive trimethylamine, and shifted methanogen community from acetotrophic to facultative methanogens, which together facilitated increased CH4 production potential. PMID:26728134

  19. Shifts in methanogen community structure and function across a coastal marsh transect: effects of exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2016-01-01

    Invasion of Spartina alterniflora in coastal areas of China increased methane (CH4) emissions. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we measured CH4 production potential, methanogen community structure and biogeochemical factors along a coastal wetland transect comprised of five habitat regions: open water, bare tidal flat, invasive S. alterniflora marsh and native Suaeda salsa and Phragmites australis marshes. CH4 production potential in S. alterniflora marsh was 10 times higher than that in other regions, and it was significantly correlated with soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and trimethylamine concentrations, but was not correlated with acetate or formate concentrations. Although the diversity of methanogens was lowest in S. alterniflora marsh, invasion increased methanogen abundance by 3.48-fold, compared with native S. salsa and P. australis marshes due to increase of facultative Methanosarcinaceae rather than acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Ordination analyses suggested that trimethylamine was the primary factor regulating shift in methanogen community structure. Addition of trimethylamine increased CH4 production rates by 1255-fold but only by 5.61- and 11.4-fold for acetate and H2/CO2, respectively. S. alterniflora invasion elevated concentration of non-competitive trimethylamine, and shifted methanogen community from acetotrophic to facultative methanogens, which together facilitated increased CH4 production potential.

  20. Biodiversity of Soil Microbial Communities Following Woody Plant Invasion of Grassland: An Assessment Using Molecular Methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kantola, I. B.; Gentry, T. J.; Filley, T. R.; Boutton, T. W.

    2012-12-01

    Woody plants have encroached into grasslands, savannas, and other grass-dominated ecosystems throughout the world during the last century. This dramatic vegetation change is likely driven by livestock grazing, altered fire frequencies, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and/or changes in atmospheric deposition patterns. Woody invasion often results in significant changes in ecosystem function, including alterations in above- and belowground primary productivity, soil C, N, and P storage and turnover, and the size and activity of the soil microbial biomass pool. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships and interactions between plant communities and soil microbial communities in the Rio Grande Plains region of southern Texas where grasslands have been largely replaced by woodlands. Research was conducted along a successional chronosequence representing the stages of woody plant encroachment from open grassland to closed-canopy woodland. To characterize soil microbial community composition, soil samples (0-7.5 cm) were collected in remnant grasslands (representing time 0) and near the centers of woody plant clusters, groves, and drainage woodlands ranging in age from 10 to 130 yrs. Ages of woody plant stands were determined by dendrochronology. Community DNA was extracted from each soil sample with a MoBio PowerMax Soil DNA isolation kit. The DNA concentrations were quantified on a NanoDrop ND-1000 spectrophotometer and diluted to a standard concentration. Pyrosequencing was performed by the Research and Testing Laboratory (Lubbock, TX) according to Roche 454 Titanium chemistry protocols. Samples were amplified with primers 27F and 519R for bacteria, and primers ITS1F and ITS4 for fungi. Sequences were aligned using BioEdit and the RDP Pipeline and analyzed in MOTHUR. Non-metric multidimensional scaling of the operational taxonomic units identified by pyrosequencing revealed that both bacterial and fungal community composition were

  1. The effects of forest conversion to oil palm on ground-foraging ant communities depend on beta diversity and sampling grain.

    PubMed

    Wang, Wendy Y; Foster, William A

    2015-08-01

    Beta diversity - the variation in species composition among spatially discrete communities - and sampling grain - the size of samples being compared - may alter our perspectives of diversity within and between landscapes before and after agricultural conversion. Such assumptions are usually based on point comparisons, which do not accurately capture actual differences in total diversity. Beta diversity is often not rigorously examined. We investigated the beta diversity of ground-foraging ant communities in fragmented oil palm and forest landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using diversity metrics transformed from Hill number equivalents to remove dependences on alpha diversity. We compared the beta diversities of oil palm and forest, across three hierarchically nested sampling grains. We found that oil palm and forest communities had a greater percentage of total shared species when larger samples were compared. Across all grains and disregarding relative abundances, there was higher beta diversity of all species among forest communities. However, there were higher beta diversities of common and very abundant (dominant) species in oil palm as compared to forests. Differences in beta diversities between oil palm and forest were greatest at the largest sampling grain. Larger sampling grains in oil palm may generate bigger species pools, increasing the probability of shared species with forest samples. Greater beta diversity of all species in forest may be attributed to rare species. Oil palm communities may be more heterogeneous in common and dominant species because of variable community assembly events. Rare and also common species are better captured at larger grains, boosting differences in beta diversity between larger samples of forest and oil palm communities. Although agricultural landscapes support a lower total diversity than natural forests, diversity especially of abundant species is still important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Diversity in

  2. The effects of forest conversion to oil palm on ground-foraging ant communities depend on beta diversity and sampling grain

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Wendy Y; Foster, William A

    2015-01-01

    Beta diversity – the variation in species composition among spatially discrete communities – and sampling grain – the size of samples being compared – may alter our perspectives of diversity within and between landscapes before and after agricultural conversion. Such assumptions are usually based on point comparisons, which do not accurately capture actual differences in total diversity. Beta diversity is often not rigorously examined. We investigated the beta diversity of ground-foraging ant communities in fragmented oil palm and forest landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using diversity metrics transformed from Hill number equivalents to remove dependences on alpha diversity. We compared the beta diversities of oil palm and forest, across three hierarchically nested sampling grains. We found that oil palm and forest communities had a greater percentage of total shared species when larger samples were compared. Across all grains and disregarding relative abundances, there was higher beta diversity of all species among forest communities. However, there were higher beta diversities of common and very abundant (dominant) species in oil palm as compared to forests. Differences in beta diversities between oil palm and forest were greatest at the largest sampling grain. Larger sampling grains in oil palm may generate bigger species pools, increasing the probability of shared species with forest samples. Greater beta diversity of all species in forest may be attributed to rare species. Oil palm communities may be more heterogeneous in common and dominant species because of variable community assembly events. Rare and also common species are better captured at larger grains, boosting differences in beta diversity between larger samples of forest and oil palm communities. Although agricultural landscapes support a lower total diversity than natural forests, diversity especially of abundant species is still important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Diversity in

  3. Differences Found in the Macroinvertebrate Community Composition in the Presence or Absence of the Invasive Alien Crayfish, Orconectes hylas.

    PubMed

    Freeland-Riggert, Brandye T; Cairns, Stefan H; Poulton, Barry C; Riggert, Christopher M

    2016-01-01

    Introductions of alien species into aquatic ecosystems have been well documented, including invasions of crayfish species; however, little is known about the effects of these introductions on macroinvertebrate communities. The woodland crayfish (Orconectes hylas (Faxon)) has been introduced into the St. Francis River watershed in southeast Missouri and has displaced populations of native crayfish. The effects of O. hylas on macroinvertebrate community composition were investigated in a fourth-order Ozark stream at two locations, one with the presence of O. hylas and one without. Significant differences between sites and across four sampling periods and two habitats were found in five categories of benthic macroinvertebrate metrics: species richness, percent/composition, dominance/diversity, functional feeding groups, and biotic indices. In most seasons and habitat combinations, the invaded site had significantly higher relative abundance of riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae), and significantly lower Missouri biotic index values, total taxa richness, and both richness and relative abundance of midges (Diptera: Chironomidae). Overall study results indicate that some macroinvertebrate community differences due to the O. hylas invasion were not consistent between seasons and habitats, suggesting that further research on spatial and temporal habitat use and feeding ecology of Ozark crayfish species is needed to improve our understanding of the effects of these invasions on aquatic communities. PMID:26986207

  4. Differences Found in the Macroinvertebrate Community Composition in the Presence or Absence of the Invasive Alien Crayfish, Orconectes hylas

    PubMed Central

    Freeland-Riggert, Brandye T.

    2016-01-01

    Introductions of alien species into aquatic ecosystems have been well documented, including invasions of crayfish species; however, little is known about the effects of these introductions on macroinvertebrate communities. The woodland crayfish (Orconectes hylas (Faxon)) has been introduced into the St. Francis River watershed in southeast Missouri and has displaced populations of native crayfish. The effects of O. hylas on macroinvertebrate community composition were investigated in a fourth-order Ozark stream at two locations, one with the presence of O. hylas and one without. Significant differences between sites and across four sampling periods and two habitats were found in five categories of benthic macroinvertebrate metrics: species richness, percent/composition, dominance/diversity, functional feeding groups, and biotic indices. In most seasons and habitat combinations, the invaded site had significantly higher relative abundance of riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae), and significantly lower Missouri biotic index values, total taxa richness, and both richness and relative abundance of midges (Diptera: Chironomidae). Overall study results indicate that some macroinvertebrate community differences due to the O. hylas invasion were not consistent between seasons and habitats, suggesting that further research on spatial and temporal habitat use and feeding ecology of Ozark crayfish species is needed to improve our understanding of the effects of these invasions on aquatic communities. PMID:26986207

  5. Differences found in the macroinvertebrate community composition in the presence or absence of the invasive alien crayfish, Orconectes hylas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Freeland-Riggert, Brandye T.; Cairns, Stefan H.; Poulton, Barry C.; Riggert, Chris M.

    2016-01-01

    Introductions of alien species into aquatic ecosystems have been well documented, including invasions of crayfish species; however, little is known about the effects of these introductions on macroinvertebrate communities. The woodland crayfish (Orconectes hylas (Faxon)) has been introduced into the St. Francis River watershed in southeast Missouri and has displaced populations of native crayfish. The effects of O. hylas on macroinvertebrate community composition were investigated in a fourth-order Ozark stream at two locations, one with the presence of O. hylas and one without. Significant differences between sites and across four sampling periods and two habitats were found in five categories of benthic macroinvertebrate metrics: species richness, percent/composition, dominance/diversity, functional feeding groups, and biotic indices. In most seasons and habitat combinations, the invaded site had significantly higher relative abundance of riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae), and significantly lower Missouri biotic index values, total taxa richness, and both richness and relative abundance of midges (Diptera: Chironomidae). Overall study results indicate that some macroinvertebrate community differences due to the O. hylas invasion were not consistent between seasons and habitats, suggesting that further research on spatial and temporal habitat use and feeding ecology of Ozark crayfish species is needed to improve our understanding of the effects of these invasions on aquatic communities.

  6. Differences Found in the Macroinvertebrate Community Composition in the Presence or Absence of the Invasive Alien Crayfish, Orconectes hylas.

    PubMed

    Freeland-Riggert, Brandye T; Cairns, Stefan H; Poulton, Barry C; Riggert, Christopher M

    2016-01-01

    Introductions of alien species into aquatic ecosystems have been well documented, including invasions of crayfish species; however, little is known about the effects of these introductions on macroinvertebrate communities. The woodland crayfish (Orconectes hylas (Faxon)) has been introduced into the St. Francis River watershed in southeast Missouri and has displaced populations of native crayfish. The effects of O. hylas on macroinvertebrate community composition were investigated in a fourth-order Ozark stream at two locations, one with the presence of O. hylas and one without. Significant differences between sites and across four sampling periods and two habitats were found in five categories of benthic macroinvertebrate metrics: species richness, percent/composition, dominance/diversity, functional feeding groups, and biotic indices. In most seasons and habitat combinations, the invaded site had significantly higher relative abundance of riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae), and significantly lower Missouri biotic index values, total taxa richness, and both richness and relative abundance of midges (Diptera: Chironomidae). Overall study results indicate that some macroinvertebrate community differences due to the O. hylas invasion were not consistent between seasons and habitats, suggesting that further research on spatial and temporal habitat use and feeding ecology of Ozark crayfish species is needed to improve our understanding of the effects of these invasions on aquatic communities.

  7. Impacts of elevated temperature on ant species, communities and ecological roles at two temperate forests in Eastern North America

    SciTech Connect

    Dunn, Robert

    2014-04-01

    Over the course of five years we have established a long-term array of warming chambers at Duke and Harvard Forest that simulate future conditions with regard to temperature. In these chambers, we have studied, ants, other animal taxa, fungi, bacteria and plants and their responses to the treatments. We have coupled these studies with lab experiments, large-scale observations, and models to contextualize our results. Finally, we have developed integrative models of the future distribution of species and their consequences as a result of warming in eastern North America and more generally.

  8. Bacterial invasion potential in water is determined by nutrient availability and the indigenous community.

    PubMed

    Van Nevel, Sam; De Roy, Karen; Boon, Nico

    2013-09-01

    In drinking water (DW) and the distribution systems, bacterial growth and biofilm formation have to be controlled both for limiting taste or odour development and preventing clogging or biocorrosion problems. After a contamination with undesired bacteria, factors like nutrient availability and temperature will influence the survival of these invaders. Understanding the conditions enabling invaders to proliferate is essential for a holistic approach towards microbial risk assessment in DW. Pseudomonas putida was used as a model invader because this easy-growing bacterium can use a wide range of substrates. Invasion experiments in oligo- to eutrophic waters showed the requirement of both a carbon and phosphate source for survival of P. putida in DW. Addition of C, N and P enabled P. putida to grow in DW from 5.80 × 10(4) to 1.84 × 10(8) cells mL(-1) and survive for at least 12 days. However, in surface water with similar nutrient concentrations, P. putida did not survive, indicating the concomitant importance of the present indigenous microbial community of the specific water sample. Either extensive carbon or phosphate limitation can be used in water treatment design in order to obtain a DW which is not susceptible for unwanted bacterial growth.

  9. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements, and past and present distribution within its native range

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. We integrated classic and Bayesian phylogeographic methods with a paleodistribution modeling approach to study the demographic patterns that shaped the distribut...

  10. Effects of Spartina alterniflora invasion on the communities of methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria in estuarine marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Zeleke, Jemaneh; Sheng, Qiang; Wang, Jian-Gong; Huang, Ming-Yao; Xia, Fei; Wu, Ji-Hua; Quan, Zhe-Xue

    2013-01-01

    The effect of plant invasion on the microorganisms of soil sediments is very important for estuary ecology. The community structures of methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) as a function of Spartina alterniflora invasion in Phragmites australis-vegetated sediments of the Dongtan wetland in the Yangtze River estuary, China, were investigated using 454 pyrosequencing and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) of the methyl coenzyme M reductase A (mcrA) and dissimilatory sulfite-reductase (dsrB) genes. Sediment samples were collected from two replicate locations, and each location included three sampling stands each covered by monocultures of P. australis, S. alterniflora and both plants (transition stands), respectively. qPCR analysis revealed higher copy numbers of mcrA genes in sediments from S. alterniflora stands than P. australis stands (5- and 7.5-fold more in the spring and summer, respectively), which is consistent with the higher methane flux rates measured in the S. alterniflora stands (up to 8.01 ± 5.61 mg m(-2) h(-1)). Similar trends were observed for SRB, and they were up to two orders of magnitude higher than the methanogens. Diversity indices indicated a lower diversity of methanogens in the S. alterniflora stands than the P. australis stands. In contrast, insignificant variations were observed in the diversity of SRB with the invasion. Although Methanomicrobiales and Methanococcales, the hydrogenotrophic methanogens, dominated in the salt marsh, Methanomicrobiales displayed a slight increase with the invasion and growth of S. alterniflora, whereas the later responded differently. Methanosarcina, the metabolically diverse methanogens, did not vary with the invasion of, but Methanosaeta, the exclusive acetate utilizers, appeared to increase with S. alterniflora invasion. In SRB, sequences closely related to the families Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae dominated in the salt marsh, although they displayed minimal changes with the S

  11. Effects of Spartina alterniflora invasion on the communities of methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria in estuarine marsh sediments

    PubMed Central

    Zeleke, Jemaneh; Sheng, Qiang; Wang, Jian-Gong; Huang, Ming-Yao; Xia, Fei; Wu, Ji-Hua; Quan, Zhe-Xue

    2013-01-01

    The effect of plant invasion on the microorganisms of soil sediments is very important for estuary ecology. The community structures of methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) as a function of Spartina alterniflora invasion in Phragmites australis-vegetated sediments of the Dongtan wetland in the Yangtze River estuary, China, were investigated using 454 pyrosequencing and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) of the methyl coenzyme M reductase A (mcrA) and dissimilatory sulfite-reductase (dsrB) genes. Sediment samples were collected from two replicate locations, and each location included three sampling stands each covered by monocultures of P. australis, S. alterniflora and both plants (transition stands), respectively. qPCR analysis revealed higher copy numbers of mcrA genes in sediments from S. alterniflora stands than P. australis stands (5- and 7.5-fold more in the spring and summer, respectively), which is consistent with the higher methane flux rates measured in the S. alterniflora stands (up to 8.01 ± 5.61 mg m−2 h−1). Similar trends were observed for SRB, and they were up to two orders of magnitude higher than the methanogens. Diversity indices indicated a lower diversity of methanogens in the S. alterniflora stands than the P. australis stands. In contrast, insignificant variations were observed in the diversity of SRB with the invasion. Although Methanomicrobiales and Methanococcales, the hydrogenotrophic methanogens, dominated in the salt marsh, Methanomicrobiales displayed a slight increase with the invasion and growth of S. alterniflora, whereas the later responded differently. Methanosarcina, the metabolically diverse methanogens, did not vary with the invasion of, but Methanosaeta, the exclusive acetate utilizers, appeared to increase with S. alterniflora invasion. In SRB, sequences closely related to the families Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae dominated in the salt marsh, although they displayed minimal changes with the S

  12. Race to Displace: A Game to Model the Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Communities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hopwood, Jennifer L.; Flowers, Susan K.; Seidler, Katie J.; Hopwood, Erica L.

    2013-01-01

    Invasive species are a substantial threat to biodiversity. Educating students about invasive species introduces fundamental concepts in biology, ecology, and environmental science. In the Race to Displace game, students assume the characteristics of select native or introduced plants and experience first hand the influences of species interactions…

  13. Ant-seed mutualisms: Can red imported fire ants sour the relationship?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zettler, J.A.; Spira, T.P.; Allen, C.R.

    2001-01-01

    Invasion by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has had negative impacts on individual animal and plant species, but little is known about how S. invicta affects complex mutualistic relationships. In some eastern forests of North America, 30% of herbaceous species have ant-dispersed seeds. We conducted experiments to determine if fire ants are attracted to seeds of these plant species and assessed the amount of scarification or damage that results from handling by fire ants. Fire ants removed nearly 100% of seeds of the ant-dispersed plants Trillium undulatum, T. discolor, T. catesbaei, Viola rotundifolia, and Sanguinaria canadensis. In recovered seeds fed to ant colonies, fire ants scarified 80% of S. canadensis seeds and destroyed 86% of V. rotundifolia seeds. Our study is the first to document that red imported fire ants are attracted to and remove seeds of species adapted for ant dispersal. Moreover, fire ants might damage these seeds and discard them in sites unfavorable for germination and seedling establishment. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. How ants drop out: ant abundance on tropical mountains.

    PubMed

    Longino, John T; Branstetter, Michael G; Colwell, Robert K

    2014-01-01

    In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and examined the impact of elevation (as a proxy for temperature) and community species richness. Sites were intentionally chosen to minimize variation in precipitation and seasonality. From sea level to 1500 m ant abundance very gradually declined, community richness declined more rapidly than abundance, and the local frequency of the locally most common species increased. These results suggest that within this elevational zone, density compensation is acting, maintaining high ant abundance as richness declines. In contrast, in sites above 1500 m, ant abundance dropped abruptly to much lower levels. Among these high montane sites, community richness explained much more of the variation in abundance than elevation, and there was no evidence of density compensation. The relative stability of abundance below 1500 m may be caused by opposing effects of temperature on productivity and metabolism. Lower temperatures may decrease productivity and thus the amount of food available for consumers, but slower metabolisms of consumers may allow maintenance of higher biomass at lower resource supply rates. Ant communities at these lower elevations may be highly interactive, the result of continuous habitat presence over geological time. High montane sites may be ephemeral in geological time, resulting in non-interactive communities dominated by historical and stochastic processes. Abundance in these sites may be determined by the number of species that manage to colonize and/or avoid extinction on mountaintops. PMID:25098722

  15. How Ants Drop Out: Ant Abundance on Tropical Mountains

    PubMed Central

    Longino, John T.; Branstetter, Michael G.; Colwell, Robert K.

    2014-01-01

    In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and examined the impact of elevation (as a proxy for temperature) and community species richness. Sites were intentionally chosen to minimize variation in precipitation and seasonality. From sea level to 1500 m ant abundance very gradually declined, community richness declined more rapidly than abundance, and the local frequency of the locally most common species increased. These results suggest that within this elevational zone, density compensation is acting, maintaining high ant abundance as richness declines. In contrast, in sites above 1500 m, ant abundance dropped abruptly to much lower levels. Among these high montane sites, community richness explained much more of the variation in abundance than elevation, and there was no evidence of density compensation. The relative stability of abundance below 1500 m may be caused by opposing effects of temperature on productivity and metabolism. Lower temperatures may decrease productivity and thus the amount of food available for consumers, but slower metabolisms of consumers may allow maintenance of higher biomass at lower resource supply rates. Ant communities at these lower elevations may be highly interactive, the result of continuous habitat presence over geological time. High montane sites may be ephemeral in geological time, resulting in non-interactive communities dominated by historical and stochastic processes. Abundance in these sites may be determined by the number of species that manage to colonize and/or avoid extinction on mountaintops. PMID:25098722

  16. Contrasting the effects of environment, dispersal and biotic interactions to explain the distribution of invasive plants in alpine communities

    PubMed Central

    GALLIEN, Laure; MAZEL, Florent; LAVERGNE, Sébastien; RENAUD, Julien; DOUZET, Rolland; THUILLER, Wilfried

    2015-01-01

    Despite considerable efforts devoted to investigate the community assembly processes driving plant invasions, few general conclusions have been drawn so far. Three main processes, generally acting as successive filters, are thought to be of prime importance. The invader has to disperse (1st filter) into a suitable environment (2nd filter) and succeed in establishing in recipient communities through competitive interactions (3rd filter) using two strategies: competition avoidance by the use of different resources (resource opportunity), or competitive exclusion of native species. Surprisingly, despite the general consensus on the importance of investigating these three processes and their interplay, they are usually studied independently. Here we aim to analyse these three filters together, by including them all: abiotic environment, dispersal and biotic interactions, into models of invasive species distributions. We first propose a suite of indices (based on species functional dissimilarities) supposed to reflect the two competitive strategies (resource opportunity and competition exclusion). Then, we use a set of generalised linear models to explain the distribution of seven herbaceous invaders in natural communities (using a large vegetation database for the French Alps containing 5,000 community-plots). Finally, we measure the relative importance of competitive interaction indices, identify the type of coexistence mechanism involved and how this varies along environmental gradients. Adding competition indices significantly improved model’s performance, but neither resource opportunity nor competitive exclusion were common strategies among the seven species. Overall, we show that combining environmental, dispersal and biotic information to model invasions has excellent potential for improving our understanding of invader success. PMID:26290653

  17. Effects of Bromus tectorum invasion on microbial carbon and nitrogen cycling in two adjacent undisturbed arid grassland communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schaeffer, Sean M.; Ziegler, Susan E.; Belnap, Jayne; Evans, R.D.

    2012-01-01

    Soil nitrogen (N) is an important component in maintaining ecosystem stability, and the introduction of non-native plants can alter N cycling by changing litter quality and quantity, nutrient uptake patterns, and soil food webs. Our goal was to determine the effects of Bromus tectorum (C3) invasion on soil microbial N cycling in adjacent non-invaded and invaded C3 and C4 native arid grasslands. We monitored resin-extractable N, plant and soil δ13C and δ15N, gross rates of inorganic N mineralization and consumption, and the quantity and isotopic composition of microbial phospholipid biomarkers. In invaded C3 communities, labile soil organic N and gross and net rates of soil N transformations increased, indicating an increase in overall microbial N cycling. In invaded C4 communities labile soil N stayed constant, but gross N flux rates increased. The δ13C of phospholipid biomarkers in invaded C4 communities showed that some portion of the soil bacterial population preferentially decomposed invader C3-derived litter over that from the native C4 species. Invasion in C4 grasslands also significantly decreased the proportion of fungal to bacterial phospholipid biomarkers. Different processes are occurring in response to B. tectorum invasion in each of these two native grasslands that: 1) alter the size of soil N pools, and/or 2) the activity of the microbial community. Both processes provide mechanisms for altering long-term N dynamics in these ecosystems and highlight how multiple mechanisms can lead to similar effects on ecosystem function, which may be important for the construction of future biogeochemical process models.

  18. The Phenology of Plant Invasions: How temporal niches assemble plant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolkovich, E. M.; Cleland, E. E.

    2009-12-01

    Understanding why certain exotic species become invasive in particular habitats has been an area of ecological research for over fifty years with numerous theories developed over this time. At the same time plant phenology has received increasing attention in recent decades because it is a major indicator of climate change, promoting the development of many geographically large-scale databases in addition to previously-available long-term records. Here we develop three of the major theories of invasion biology into their main phenological predictions and present early results from testing these predictions with two large datasets from North America. We first extend the vacant niche, priority effects and increased plasticity theories of invasion biology into their phenological applications. The vacant niche hypothesis states that invasive species establish and benefit from using available resources in a system, both static and temporally variable. One common way for invasive plants to exploit temporally variable resources is to target their growth during periods when native plants are less active, such an exploitation would result in differing phenologies for native species versus exotic species. Additionally, basic ecological co-existence models predict priority effects—where species establishing earlier in the season benefit by sequestering resources first—could also be important to the success of invasive plants. Finally, current invasion biology theory also predicts exotic species exhibit greater plasticity in their phenologies than native species; this plasticity then benefits exotic species by allowing them to respond more strongly to variability compared to native species. We test the main predictions of these theories using data publicly-available from USDA-Plants and Project Budburst for leaf-burst and flowering of many exotic and native plant species throughout the United States. Our results show support for priority effects in some areas of North

  19. The Ants Have It!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

    Uses the GEMS guide, "Ants at Home Underground", to explore the life of ants and teach about them in a classroom setting. The activity applies students' knowledge of ants and students learn about ant colonies, what ants eat, and how they live. (SAH)

  20. Reactions by army ant workers to nestmates having had contact with sympatric ant species.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

    It was recently shown that Pheidole megacephala colonies (an invasive species originating from Africa) counterattack when raided by the army ant, Eciton burchellii. The subsequent contact permits Pheidole cuticular compounds (that constitute the "colony odour") to be transferred onto the raiding Eciton, which are then not recognised by their colony-mates and killed. Using a simple method for transferring cuticular compounds, we tested if this phenomenon occurs for Neotropical ants. Eciton workers rubbed with ants from four sympatric species were released among their colony-mates. Individuals rubbed with Solenopsis saevissima or Camponotus blandus workers were attacked, but not those rubbed with Atta sexdens, Pheidole fallax or with colony-mates (control lot). So, the chemicals of certain sympatric ant species, but not others, trigger intra-colonial aggressiveness in Eciton. We conclude that prey-ant chemicals might have played a role in the evolution of army ant predatory behaviour, likely influencing prey specialization in certain cases. PMID:25444708

  1. Impacts of residual insecticide barriers on perimeter-invading ants, with particular reference to the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile.

    PubMed

    Scharf, Michael E; Ratliff, Catina R; Bennett, Gary W

    2004-04-01

    Three liquid insecticide formulations were evaluated as barrier treatments against perimeter-invading ants at a multifamily housing complex in West Lafayette, IN. Several ant species were present at the study site, including (in order of abundance) pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (L.); honey ant, Prenolepis imparis (Say); odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say); thief ant, Solenopsis molesta (Say); acrobat ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi (Mayr); crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), field ants, Formica spp.; and carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer). Studies began in May 2001 and concluded 8 wk later in July. Individual replicate treatments were placed 0.61 in (2 feet) up and 0.92 m (3 feet) out from the ends of 46.1 by 10.1-m (151 by 33-foot) apartment buildings. Ant sampling was performed with 10 placements of moist cat food for 1 h within treatment zones, followed by capture and removal of recruited ants for later counting. All treatments led to substantial reductions in ant numbers relative to untreated controls. The most effective treatment was fipronil, where 2% of before-treatment ant numbers were present at 8 wk after treatment. Both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin barrier treatments had efficacy comparative with fipronil, but to 4 and 2 wk, respectively. Odorous house ants were not sampled before treatment. Comparisons of ant species composition between treatments and controls revealed an increase in odorous house ant frequencies at 1-8 wk after treatment in treated locations only. These results demonstrate efficacy for both nonrepellent and repellent liquid insecticides as perimeter treatments for pest ants. In addition, our findings with odorous house ant highlight an apparent invasive-like characteristic of this species that may contribute to its dramatic increase in structural infestation rates in many areas of the United States.

  2. Impacts of residual insecticide barriers on perimeter-invading ants, with particular reference to the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile.

    PubMed

    Scharf, Michael E; Ratliff, Catina R; Bennett, Gary W

    2004-04-01

    Three liquid insecticide formulations were evaluated as barrier treatments against perimeter-invading ants at a multifamily housing complex in West Lafayette, IN. Several ant species were present at the study site, including (in order of abundance) pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (L.); honey ant, Prenolepis imparis (Say); odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say); thief ant, Solenopsis molesta (Say); acrobat ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi (Mayr); crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), field ants, Formica spp.; and carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer). Studies began in May 2001 and concluded 8 wk later in July. Individual replicate treatments were placed 0.61 in (2 feet) up and 0.92 m (3 feet) out from the ends of 46.1 by 10.1-m (151 by 33-foot) apartment buildings. Ant sampling was performed with 10 placements of moist cat food for 1 h within treatment zones, followed by capture and removal of recruited ants for later counting. All treatments led to substantial reductions in ant numbers relative to untreated controls. The most effective treatment was fipronil, where 2% of before-treatment ant numbers were present at 8 wk after treatment. Both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin barrier treatments had efficacy comparative with fipronil, but to 4 and 2 wk, respectively. Odorous house ants were not sampled before treatment. Comparisons of ant species composition between treatments and controls revealed an increase in odorous house ant frequencies at 1-8 wk after treatment in treated locations only. These results demonstrate efficacy for both nonrepellent and repellent liquid insecticides as perimeter treatments for pest ants. In addition, our findings with odorous house ant highlight an apparent invasive-like characteristic of this species that may contribute to its dramatic increase in structural infestation rates in many areas of the United States. PMID:15154488

  3. Experimentally testing and assessing the predictive power of species assembly rules for tropical canopy ants

    PubMed Central

    Fayle, Tom M; Eggleton, Paul; Manica, Andrea; Yusah, Kalsum M; Foster, William A

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how species assemble into communities is a key goal in ecology. However, assembly rules are rarely tested experimentally, and their ability to shape real communities is poorly known. We surveyed a diverse community of epiphyte-dwelling ants and found that similar-sized species co-occurred less often than expected. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that invasion was discouraged by the presence of similarly sized resident species. The size difference for which invasion was less likely was the same as that for which wild species exhibited reduced co-occurrence. Finally we explored whether our experimentally derived assembly rules could simulate realistic communities. Communities simulated using size-based species assembly exhibited diversities closer to wild communities than those simulated using size-independent assembly, with results being sensitive to the combination of rules employed. Hence, species segregation in the wild can be driven by competitive species assembly, and this process is sufficient to generate observed species abundance distributions for tropical epiphyte-dwelling ants. PMID:25622647

  4. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (Hymenoptera: formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti-x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites an

  5. Ant nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    A new Hubble Space Telescope image of a celestial object called the Ant Nebula may shed new light on the future demise of our Sun. The image is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/wfpc .

    The nebula, imaged on July 20, 1997, and June 30, 1998, by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, was observed by Drs. Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Bruce Balick of the University of Washington in Seattle; and Vincent Icke of Leiden University in the Netherlands. JPL designed and built the camera.

    The Ant Nebula, whose technical name is Mz3, resembles the head and thorax of an ant when observed with ground-based telescopes. The new Hubble image, with 10 times the resolution revealing 100 times more detail, shows the 'ant's' body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun- like star. The Ant Nebula is located between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norma.

    The image challenges old ideas about what happens to dying stars. This observation, along with other pictures of various remnants of dying stars called planetary nebulae, shows that our Sun's fate will probably be much more interesting, complex and dramatic than astronomers previously believed.

    Although the ejection of gas from the dying star in the Ant Nebula is violent, it does not show the chaos one might expect from an ordinary explosion, but instead shows symmetrical patterns. One possibility is that the central star has a closely orbiting companion whose gravitational tidal forces shape the outflowing gas. A second possibility is that as the dying star spins, its strong magnetic fields are wound up into complex shapes like spaghetti in an eggbeater. Electrically charged winds, much like those in our Sun's solar wind but millions of times denser and moving at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per second (more than 600 miles per second) from the star, follow the twisted field lines on their way

  6. Clinical features and molecular characteristics of invasive community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in Taiwanese children.

    PubMed

    Chen, Chih-Jung; Su, Lin-Hui; Chiu, Cheng-Hsun; Lin, Tzou-Yien; Wong, Kin-Sun; Chen, Yi-Ywan M; Huang, Yhu-Chering

    2007-11-01

    Highly virulent community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has been associated with morbidity and mortality in various countries of the world. We characterized the clinical and molecular features of pediatric invasive CA-MRSA infections in Taiwan. Between July 2000 and June 2005, 31 previously healthy children with invasive CA-MRSA infections were identified from 423 children with community-onset methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections. The medical records were reviewed. The clinical isolates, if available, were collected for molecular characterization. Sixteen (51.6%) patients were male, and the mean age was 5.7 years. Adolescents accounted for 9 (29%) cases. Eighteen children had bone and/or joint infections, 14 had deep-seated soft tissue infections, 11 had pneumonia, and 2 had central nervous system infections. Multiorgan involvement was identified in 8 of 20 bacteremic cases. Twenty-two patients (71%) required surgical interventions. The mean hospital stay was 27.4 days. All of the 15 available isolates were classified as sequence type (ST) 59 or its single locus variant and belonged to 2 previously reported community-associated clones containing staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type IV or type V(T) in Taiwan. Most of the isolates were multiresistant to clindamycin (94%) and erythromycin (97%). Eleven (73.3%) isolates carried pvl genes, and the strains harboring pvl genes were significantly associated with lung involvement. In conclusion, invasive CA-MRSA infections in pediatric population were not limited to young children. Surgical interventions were often required, and a prolonged course of antibiotic therapy was needed. A multiresistant CA-MRSA clone characterized as ST59 was identified from these children in Taiwan. PMID:17662565

  7. An Invasion of Green-Stained Farm Workers from Outer Space(s)? Or a Rural Community Struggling with Issues of Itinerancy?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henderson, Robyn

    2005-01-01

    This paper investigates stories that are told in a North Queensland rural community about the arrival of itinerant farm workers for the winter harvesting season. Permanent residents often represent this annual event as an invasion of the community by undesirable people who break the law, exacerbate racial tensions and take jobs from locals. Such…

  8. Microsporidian and viral pathogens for the biological control of imported fire ants: can we walk the talk?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    . Invasive ants are among the most serious of arthropod invaders. These ants infest a wide range of habitats and impact biodiversity, agriculture, and human health. Self-sustaining biological control is one of the few hopes for permanent regional suppression of these established invasive ants. Fo...

  9. The Effect of Diet and Opponent Size on Aggressive Interactions Involving Caribbean Crazy Ants (Nylanderia fulva)

    PubMed Central

    Horn, Katherine C.; Eubanks, Micky D.; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants. PMID:23776702

  10. The effect of diet and opponent size on aggressive interactions involving caribbean crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva).

    PubMed

    Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants. PMID:23776702

  11. The effect of diet and opponent size on aggressive interactions involving caribbean crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva).

    PubMed

    Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants.

  12. Eutrophication and Dreissena invasion as drivers of biodiversity: a century of change in the mollusc community of Oneida Lake.

    PubMed

    Karatayev, Vadim A; Karatayev, Alexander Y; Burlakova, Lyubov E; Rudstam, Lars G

    2014-01-01

    Changes in nutrient loading and invasive species are among the strongest human-driven disturbances in freshwater ecosystems, but our knowledge on how they affect the biodiversity of lakes is still limited. We conducted a detailed historical analysis of the mollusc community of Oneida Lake based on our comprehensive lakewide study in 2012 and previous surveys dating back to 1915. In the early 20th century, the lake had a high water clarity, with abundant macrophytes and benthic algae, and hosted the most diverse molluscan community in New York State, including 32 gastropod and 9 unionid species. By the 1960s, lake turbidity increased during a period of anthropogenic eutrophication, resulting in a 38% decline in species richness and a 95% reduction in abundance of native gastropods grazing on benthic algae. Following the invasion of Dreissena spp. in 1991 and subsequent increases in water clarity, native gastropod species richness expanded by 37% and abundance increased 20-fold by 2012. In contrast, filter-feeding unionids were unaffected by increased turbidity during the period of eutrophication but were extirpated by dreissenids. Through contrasting effects on turbidity, eutrophication and Dreissena spp. have likely driven the observed changes in native grazing gastropods by affecting the abundance of light-limited benthic algae. Given the high species richness and ecological importance of benthic grazers, monitoring and managing turbidity is important in preserving molluscan diversity. PMID:25010705

  13. Eutrophication and Dreissena Invasion as Drivers of Biodiversity: A Century of Change in the Mollusc Community of Oneida Lake

    PubMed Central

    Karatayev, Vadim A.; Karatayev, Alexander Y.; Burlakova, Lyubov E.; Rudstam, Lars G.

    2014-01-01

    Changes in nutrient loading and invasive species are among the strongest human-driven disturbances in freshwater ecosystems, but our knowledge on how they affect the biodiversity of lakes is still limited. We conducted a detailed historical analysis of the mollusc community of Oneida Lake based on our comprehensive lakewide study in 2012 and previous surveys dating back to 1915. In the early 20th century, the lake had a high water clarity, with abundant macrophytes and benthic algae, and hosted the most diverse molluscan community in New York State, including 32 gastropod and 9 unionid species. By the 1960s, lake turbidity increased during a period of anthropogenic eutrophication, resulting in a 38% decline in species richness and a 95% reduction in abundance of native gastropods grazing on benthic algae. Following the invasion of Dreissena spp. in 1991 and subsequent increases in water clarity, native gastropod species richness expanded by 37% and abundance increased 20-fold by 2012. In contrast, filter-feeding unionids were unaffected by increased turbidity during the period of eutrophication but were extirpated by dreissenids. Through contrasting effects on turbidity, eutrophication and Dreissena spp. have likely driven the observed changes in native grazing gastropods by affecting the abundance of light-limited benthic algae. Given the high species richness and ecological importance of benthic grazers, monitoring and managing turbidity is important in preserving molluscan diversity. PMID:25010705

  14. Eutrophication and Dreissena invasion as drivers of biodiversity: a century of change in the mollusc community of Oneida Lake.

    PubMed

    Karatayev, Vadim A; Karatayev, Alexander Y; Burlakova, Lyubov E; Rudstam, Lars G

    2014-01-01

    Changes in nutrient loading and invasive species are among the strongest human-driven disturbances in freshwater ecosystems, but our knowledge on how they affect the biodiversity of lakes is still limited. We conducted a detailed historical analysis of the mollusc community of Oneida Lake based on our comprehensive lakewide study in 2012 and previous surveys dating back to 1915. In the early 20th century, the lake had a high water clarity, with abundant macrophytes and benthic algae, and hosted the most diverse molluscan community in New York State, including 32 gastropod and 9 unionid species. By the 1960s, lake turbidity increased during a period of anthropogenic eutrophication, resulting in a 38% decline in species richness and a 95% reduction in abundance of native gastropods grazing on benthic algae. Following the invasion of Dreissena spp. in 1991 and subsequent increases in water clarity, native gastropod species richness expanded by 37% and abundance increased 20-fold by 2012. In contrast, filter-feeding unionids were unaffected by increased turbidity during the period of eutrophication but were extirpated by dreissenids. Through contrasting effects on turbidity, eutrophication and Dreissena spp. have likely driven the observed changes in native grazing gastropods by affecting the abundance of light-limited benthic algae. Given the high species richness and ecological importance of benthic grazers, monitoring and managing turbidity is important in preserving molluscan diversity.

  15. Legacy effects overwhelm the short-term effects of exotic plant invasion and restoration on soil microbial community structure, enzyme activities, and nitrogen cycling.

    PubMed

    Elgersma, Kenneth J; Ehrenfeld, Joan G; Yu, Shen; Vor, Torsten

    2011-11-01

    Plant invasions can have substantial consequences for the soil ecosystem, altering microbial community structure and nutrient cycling. However, relatively little is known about what drives these changes, making it difficult to predict the effects of future invasions. In addition, because most studies compare soils from uninvaded areas to long-established dense invasions, little is known about the temporal dependence of invasion impacts. We experimentally manipulated forest understory vegetation in replicated sites dominated either by exotic Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), native Viburnums, or native Vacciniums, so that each vegetation type was present in each site-type. We compared the short-term effect of vegetation changes to the lingering legacy effects of the previous vegetation type by measuring soil microbial community structure (phospholipid fatty acids) and function (extracellular enzymes and nitrogen mineralization). We also replaced the aboveground litter in half of each plot with an inert substitute to determine if changes in the soil microbial community were driven by aboveground or belowground plant inputs. We found that after 2 years, the microbial community structure and function was largely determined by the legacy effect of the previous vegetation type, and was not affected by the current vegetation. Aboveground litter removal had only weak effects, suggesting that changes in the soil microbial community and nutrient cycling were driven largely by belowground processes. These results suggest that changes in the soil following either invasion or restoration do not occur quickly, but rather exhibit long-lasting legacy effects from previous belowground plant inputs. PMID:21618010

  16. Spatial patterns of ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum in arbuscular mycorrhizal barrens communities: implications for controlling invasion by Pinus virginiana.

    PubMed

    Thiet, Rachel K; Boerner, R E J

    2007-09-01

    Invasion of globally threatened ecosystems dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal plants, such as the alkaline prairies and serpentine barrens of eastern North America, by species of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) pine (Pinus) seriously threatens the persistence, conservation, and ongoing restoration of these rare plant communities. Using Maryland serpentine barrens and an Ohio alkaline prairie complex as model systems, we tested the hypothesis that the invasiveness of Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana L.) into such communities is regulated by the spatial pattern of ECM fungal inoculum in the soil. ECM colonization of pine seedlings can occur by (1) hyphae growing from the roots of mature ECM pines colonizing nearby seedlings (contagion model), (2) pine seedlings being infected after germinating in open areas where spores are concentrated in feces of animals that have consumed sporocarps (centers of infection model), and (3) colonization from spores that are wind-dispersed across the landscape (background model). To test these models of dispersal of ECM fungal inoculum into these barrens, we used autocorrelation and spatially explicit mapping techniques (semivariance analysis and kriging) to characterize the distribution and abundance of ECM inoculum in soil. Our results strongly suggest that ECM fungi most often disperse into open barrens by contagion, thereby facilitating rapid pine colonization in an advancing front from mature pine forests bordering the barrens. Spatial patterns consistent with the centers of infection model were present but less common. Thus, current management techniques that rely on cutting and fire to reverse pine invasion may be ineffective because they do not kill or disrupt hyphal mats attached to mature roots of neighboring pines. Management alternatives are discussed. PMID:17356853

  17. Spatial patterns of ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum in arbuscular mycorrhizal barrens communities: implications for controlling invasion by Pinus virginiana.

    PubMed

    Thiet, Rachel K; Boerner, R E J

    2007-09-01

    Invasion of globally threatened ecosystems dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal plants, such as the alkaline prairies and serpentine barrens of eastern North America, by species of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) pine (Pinus) seriously threatens the persistence, conservation, and ongoing restoration of these rare plant communities. Using Maryland serpentine barrens and an Ohio alkaline prairie complex as model systems, we tested the hypothesis that the invasiveness of Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana L.) into such communities is regulated by the spatial pattern of ECM fungal inoculum in the soil. ECM colonization of pine seedlings can occur by (1) hyphae growing from the roots of mature ECM pines colonizing nearby seedlings (contagion model), (2) pine seedlings being infected after germinating in open areas where spores are concentrated in feces of animals that have consumed sporocarps (centers of infection model), and (3) colonization from spores that are wind-dispersed across the landscape (background model). To test these models of dispersal of ECM fungal inoculum into these barrens, we used autocorrelation and spatially explicit mapping techniques (semivariance analysis and kriging) to characterize the distribution and abundance of ECM inoculum in soil. Our results strongly suggest that ECM fungi most often disperse into open barrens by contagion, thereby facilitating rapid pine colonization in an advancing front from mature pine forests bordering the barrens. Spatial patterns consistent with the centers of infection model were present but less common. Thus, current management techniques that rely on cutting and fire to reverse pine invasion may be ineffective because they do not kill or disrupt hyphal mats attached to mature roots of neighboring pines. Management alternatives are discussed.

  18. Non-additive benefit or cost? Disentangling the indirect effects that occur when plants bearing extrafloral nectaries and honeydew-producing insects share exotic ant mutualists

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Amy M.; Rudgers, Jennifer A.

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims In complex communities, organisms often form mutualisms with multiple different partners simultaneously. Non-additive effects may emerge among species linked by these positive interactions. Ants commonly participate in mutualisms with both honeydew-producing insects (HPI) and their extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing host plants. Consequently, HPI and EFN-bearing plants may experience non-additive benefits or costs when these groups co-occur. The outcomes of these interactions are likely to be influenced by variation in preferences among ants for honeydew vs. nectar. In this study, a test was made for non-additive effects on HPI and EFN-bearing plants resulting from sharing exotic ant guards. Preferences of the dominant exotic ant species for nectar vs. honeydew resources were also examined. Methods Ant access, HPI and nectar availability were manipulated on the EFN-bearing shrub, Morinda citrifolia, and ant and HPI abundances, herbivory and plant growth were assessed. Ant-tending behaviours toward HPI across an experimental gradient of nectar availability were also tracked in order to investigate mechanisms underlying ant responses. Key Results The dominant ant species, Anoplolepis gracilipes, differed from less invasive ants in response to multiple mutualists, with reductions in plot-wide abundances when nectar was reduced, but no response to HPI reduction. Conversely, at sites where A. gracilipes was absent or rare, abundances of less invasive ants increased when nectar was reduced, but declined when HPI were reduced. Non-additive benefits were found at sites dominated by A. gracilipes, but only for M. citrifolia plants. Responses of HPI at these sites supported predictions of the non-additive cost model. Interestingly, the opposite non-additive patterns emerged at sites dominated by other ants. Conclusions It was demonstrated that strong non-additive benefits and costs can both occur when a plant and herbivore share mutualist partners. These

  19. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    PubMed

    Fayle, Tom M; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs. PMID:25853549

  20. Detection of Mitochondrial COII DNA Sequences in Ant Guts as a Method for Assessing Termite Predation by Ants

    PubMed Central

    Fayle, Tom M.; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J.; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T.; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs. PMID:25853549

  1. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    PubMed

    Fayle, Tom M; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs.

  2. A global assessment of invasive plant impacts on resident species, communities and ecosystems: the interaction of impact measures, invading species' traits and environment

    PubMed Central

    Pyšek, Petr; Jarošík, Vojtěch; Hulme, Philip E; Pergl, Jan; Hejda, Martin; Schaffner, Urs; Vilà, Montserrat

    2012-01-01

    With the growing body of literature assessing the impact of invasive alien plants on resident species and ecosystems, a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between invasive species traits and environmental settings of invasion on the characteristics of impacts is needed. Based on 287 publications with 1551 individual cases that addressed the impact of 167 invasive plant species belonging to 49 families, we present the first global overview of frequencies of significant and non-significant ecological impacts and their directions on 15 outcomes related to the responses of resident populations, species, communities and ecosystems. Species and community outcomes tend to decline following invasions, especially those for plants, but the abundance and richness of the soil biota, as well as concentrations of soil nutrients and water, more often increase than decrease following invasion. Data mining tools revealed that invasive plants exert consistent significant impacts on some outcomes (survival of resident biota, activity of resident animals, resident community productivity, mineral and nutrient content in plant tissues, and fire frequency and intensity), whereas for outcomes at the community level, such as species richness, diversity and soil resources, the significance of impacts is determined by interactions between species traits and the biome invaded. The latter outcomes are most likely to be impacted by annual grasses, and by wind pollinated trees invading mediterranean or tropical biomes. One of the clearest signals in this analysis is that invasive plants are far more likely to cause significant impacts on resident plant and animal richness on islands rather than mainland. This study shows that there is no universal measure of impact and the pattern observed depends on the ecological measure examined. Although impact is strongly context dependent, some species traits, especially life form, stature and pollination syndrome, may provide a means to predict

  3. Invasional meltdown: invader-invader mutualism facilitates a secondary invasion.

    PubMed

    Green, Peter T; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Abbott, Kirsti L; Jeffery, Mick; Retallick, Kent; Mac Nally, Ralph

    2011-09-01

    In multiply invaded ecosystems, introduced species should interact with each other as well as with native species. Invader-invader interactions may affect the success of further invaders by altering attributes of recipient communities and propagule pressure. The invasional meltdown hypothesis (IMH) posits that positive interactions among invaders initiate positive population-level feedback that intensifies impacts and promotes secondary invasions. IMH remains controversial: few studies show feedback between invaders that amplifies their effects, and none yet demonstrate facilitation of entry and spread of secondary invaders. Our results show that supercolonies of an alien ant, promoted by mutualism with introduced honeydew-secreting scale insects, permitted invasion by an exotic land snail on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Modeling of land snail spread over 750 sites across 135 km2 over seven years showed that the probability of land snail invasion was facilitated 253-fold in ant supercolonies but impeded in intact forest where predaceous native land crabs remained abundant. Land snail occurrence at neighboring sites, a measure of propagule pressure, also promoted land snail spread. Site comparisons and experiments revealed that ant supercolonies, by killing land crabs but not land snails, disrupted biotic resistance and provided enemy-free space. Predation pressure on land snails was lower (28.6%), survival 115 times longer, and abundance 20-fold greater in supercolonies than in intact forest. Whole-ecosystem suppression of supercolonies reversed the probability of land snail invasion by allowing recolonization of land crabs; land snails were much less likely (0.79%) to invade sites where supercolonies were suppressed than where they remained intact. Our results provide strong empirical evidence for IMH by demonstrating that mutualism between invaders reconfigures key interactions in the recipient community. This facilitates entry of secondary invaders and

  4. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera:formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity. 19 references, 3 figures, 2 tables.

  5. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti x=/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity.

  6. An experimental study of competition between fire ants and Argentine ants in their native range.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, E G; Tillberg, C V; Suarez, A V; Folgarait, P J; Smith, C R; Holway, D A

    2007-01-01

    An understanding of why introduced species achieve ecological success in novel environments often requires information about the factors that limit the abundance of these taxa in their native ranges. Although numerous recent studies have evaluated the importance of natural enemies in this context, relatively few have examined how ecological success may result from differences in the magnitude of interference competition between communities in the native and introduced ranges of nonnative species. Here we examine how native-range competitive environments may relate to invasion success for two important invasive species, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), in a region of native-range sympatry. At two study sites in northern Argentina, we used stable-isotope analysis, a variety of observational approaches, and two different reciprocal removal experiments to test (1) whether S. invicta competes asymmetrically with L. humile (as suggested by the 20th century pattern of replacement in the southeastern United States) and (2) the extent to which these two species achieve behavioral and numerical dominance. Stable-isotope analysis and activity surveys indicated that S. invicta and L. humile are both omnivores and forage during broadly overlapping portions of the diel cycle. Short-term removal experiments at baits revealed no competitive asymmetry between S. invicta and L. humile. Longer-term colony removal experiments illustrated that S. invicta and L. humile experience an approximately equal competitive release upon removal of the other. Our results indicate that neither S. invicta nor L. humile achieves the same degree of behavioral or ecological dominance where they co-occur in native populations as they do in areas where either is common in their introduced range. These results strongly suggest that interspecific competition is an important limiting factor for both S. invicta and L. humile in South America.

  7. Bacterial associates of arboreal ants and their putative functions in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Eilmus, Sascha; Heil, Martin

    2009-07-01

    Bacterial communities are highly diverse and have great ecological importance. In the present study, we used an in silico analysis of terminal restriction fragments (tRF) to characterize the bacterial community of the plant ant Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus. This species is an obligate inhabitant of Acacia myrmecophytes and feeds exclusively on plant-derived food sources. Ants are the dominant insect group in tropical rain forests. Associations of ants with microbes, which contribute particularly to the ants' nitrogen nutrition, could allow these insects to live on mostly or entirely plant-based diets and could thus contribute to the explanation of the high abundances that are reached by tropical ants. We found tRF patterns representing at least 30 prokaryotic taxa, of which the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes comprised 93%. Because most bacterial taxa were found in all ant-derived samples studied and because the bacteria detected on the ants' host plant revealed little overlap with this community, we regard our results as reliably representing the bacterial community that is associated with P. ferrugineus. Genera with a likely function as ant symbionts were Burkholderia, Pantoea, Weissella, and several members of the Enterobacteriaceae. The presence of these and various other groups was confirmed via independent PCR and cultivation approaches. Many of the bacteria that we detected belong to purportedly N-fixing taxa. Bacteria may represent important further partners in ant-plant mutualisms, and their influences on ant nutrition can contribute to the extraordinary abundance and evolutionary success of tropical arboreal ants. PMID:19447959

  8. Mutualistic ants as an indirect defence against leaf pathogens.

    PubMed

    González-Teuber, Marcia; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Boland, Wilhelm

    2014-04-01

    Mutualistic ants are commonly considered as an efficient indirect defence against herbivores. Nevertheless, their indirect protective role against plant pathogens has been scarcely investigated. We compared the protective role against pathogens of two different ant partners, a mutualistic and a parasitic ant, on the host plant Acacia hindsii (Fabaceae). The epiphytic bacterial community on leaves was evaluated in the presence and absence of both ant partners by cultivation and by 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Pathogen-inflicted leaf damage, epiphytic bacterial abundance (colony-forming units) and number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly higher in plants inhabited by parasitic ants than in plants inhabited by mutualistic ants. Unifrac unweighted and weighted principal component analyses showed that the bacterial community composition on leaves changed significantly when mutualistic ants were removed from plants or when plants were inhabited by parasitic ants. Direct mechanisms provided by ant-associated bacteria would contribute to the protective role against pathogens. The results suggest that the indirect defence of mutualistic ants also covers the protection from bacterial plant pathogens. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bacterial partners in ant-plant defensive mutualisms, which can contribute significantly to ant-mediated protection from plant pathogens.

  9. Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Lacking PVL, as a Cause of Severe Invasive Infection Treated with Linezolid

    PubMed Central

    Gavino, Alexandra; Miragaia, Maria; Varandas, Luis; de Lencastre, Herminia; Brito, Maria Joao

    2013-01-01

    Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is an emerging public health problem worldwide. Severe invasive infections have been described, mostly associated with the presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). In Portugal limited information exists regarding CA-MRSA infections. In this study we describe the case of a previously healthy 12-year-old female, sport athlete, who presented to the hospital with acetabulofemoral septic arthritis, myositis, fasciitis, acetabulum osteomyelitis, and pneumonia. The MRSA isolated from blood and synovial fluid was PVL negative and staphylococcal enterotoxin type P (SEP) and type L (SEL) positive, with a vancomycin MIC of 1.0 mg/L and resistant to clindamycin and ciprofloxacin. The patient was submitted to multiple surgical drainages and started on vancomycin, rifampicin, and gentamycin. Due to persistence of fever and no microbiological clearance, linezolid was started with improvement. This is one of the few reported cases of severe invasive infection caused by CA-MRSA in Portugal, which was successfully treated with linezolid. In spite of the severity of infection, the MRSA isolate did not produce PVL. PMID:23509655

  10. Potential impacts of invasive Spartina alterniflora on spring bird communities at Chongming Dongtan, a Chinese wetland of international importance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gan, Xiaojing; Cai, Yinting; Choi, Chiyeung; Ma, Zhijun; Chen, Jiakuan; Li, Bo

    2009-06-01

    Invasive smooth cordgrass ( Spartina alterniflora, hereafter Spartina) has been expanding rapidly in the estuarine wetlands at Chongming Dongtan (East China) at the expense of native sea-bulrush ( Scirpus mariqueter, hereafter Scirpus) and common reed ( Phragmites australis, hereafter Phragmites). To examine the potential impacts of the Spartina invasion on bird diversity, we compared the abundance and species richness of birds in habitats created by Spartina, Phragmites, Spartina mixed with Phragmites, Scirpus, and the bare intertidal zone at Chongming Dongtan in spring 2008. Most birds were recorded in the native habitats, with songbirds and breeding birds being most abundant in the Phragmites habitats, and waterbirds and migrants being most abundant in the Scirpus habitats and bare intertidal zone. Both species number and population densities of birds were lower in the exotic Spartina habitats than in the other four habitats. Although some songbirds and breeding birds used the Spartina-invaded habitats, and even preferred Spartina-invaded habitats to Scirpus habitats and bare intertidal zone, their densities were lower in the Spartina-invaded habitats than in the native Phragmites habitats. This might have resulted from the dense Spartina stands restricting bird movement and providing insufficient useable food for most birds. We conclude that the spread of exotic Spartina has negative impacts on local bird communities. Because Chongming Dongtan is an important stopover site for energy replenishment of shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, urgent measures are needed to control further spread of Spartina and to restore the native habitats for birds.

  11. Ants as a measure of effectiveness of habitat conservation planning in southern California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mitrovich, Milan J.; Matsuda, Tritia; Pease, Krista H.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2010-01-01

    In the United States multispecies habitat conservation plans were meant to be the solution to conflicts between economic development and protection of biological diversity. Although now widely applied, questions exist concerning the scientific credibility of the conservation planning process and effectiveness of the plans. We used ants to assess performance of one of the first regional conservation plans developed in the United States, the Orange County Central-Coastal Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP), in meeting its broader conservation objectives of biodiversity and ecosystem-level protection. We collected pitfall data on ants for over 3 years on 172 sites established across a network of conservation lands in coastal southern California. Although recovered native ant diversity for the study area was high, site-occupancy models indicated the invasive and ecologically disruptive Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile) was present at 29% of sites, and sites located within 200 m of urban and agricultural areas were more likely to have been invaded. Within invaded sites, native ants were largely displaced, and their median species richness declined by more than 60% compared with uninvaded sites. At the time of planning, 24% of the 15,133-ha reserve system established by Orange County NCCP fell within 200 m of an urban or agricultural edge. With complete build out of lands surrounding the reserve, the proportion of the reserve system vulnerable to invasion will grow to 44%. Our data indicate that simply protecting designated areas from development is not enough. If habitat conservation plans are to fulfill their conservation promise of ecosystem-level protection, a more-integrated and systematic approach to the process of habitat conservation planning is needed.

  12. Size matters: nest colonization patterns for twig-nesting ants.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Soto, Estelí; Philpott, Stacy M

    2015-08-01

    Understanding the drivers of ant diversity and co-occurrence in agroecosystems is fundamental because ants participate in interactions that influence agroecosystem processes. Multiple local and regional factors influence ant community assembly.We examined local factors that influence the structure of a twig-nesting ant community in a coffee system in Mexico using an experimental approach. We investigated whether twig characteristics (nest entrance size and diversity of nest entrance sizes) and nest strata (canopy shade tree or coffee shrub) affected occupation, species richness, and community composition of twig-nesting ants and whether frequency of occupation of ant species varied with particular nest entrance sizes or strata.We conducted our study in a shaded coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico, between March and June 2012. We studied ant nest colonization by placing artificial nests (bamboo twigs) on coffee shrubs and shade trees either in diverse or uniform treatments. We also examined whether differences in vegetation (no. of trees, canopy cover and coffee density) influenced nest colonization.We found 33 ant species occupying 73% of nests placed. Nest colonization did not differ with nest strata or size. Mean species richness of colonizing ants was significantly higher in the diverse nest size entrance treatment, but did not differ with nest strata. Community composition differed between strata and also between the diverse and uniform size treatments on coffee shrubs, but not on shade trees. Some individual ant species were more frequently found in certain nest strata and in nests with certain entrance sizes.Our results indicate that twig-nesting ants are nest-site limited, quickly occupy artificial nests of many sizes, and that trees or shrubs with twigs of a diversity of entrance sizes likely support higher ant species richness. Further, individual ant species more frequently occupy nests with different sized entrances promoting ant richness on individual coffee

  13. Size matters: nest colonization patterns for twig-nesting ants

    PubMed Central

    Jiménez-Soto, Estelí; Philpott, Stacy M

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the drivers of ant diversity and co-occurrence in agroecosystems is fundamental because ants participate in interactions that influence agroecosystem processes. Multiple local and regional factors influence ant community assembly. We examined local factors that influence the structure of a twig-nesting ant community in a coffee system in Mexico using an experimental approach. We investigated whether twig characteristics (nest entrance size and diversity of nest entrance sizes) and nest strata (canopy shade tree or coffee shrub) affected occupation, species richness, and community composition of twig-nesting ants and whether frequency of occupation of ant species varied with particular nest entrance sizes or strata. We conducted our study in a shaded coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico, between March and June 2012. We studied ant nest colonization by placing artificial nests (bamboo twigs) on coffee shrubs and shade trees either in diverse or uniform treatments. We also examined whether differences in vegetation (no. of trees, canopy cover and coffee density) influenced nest colonization. We found 33 ant species occupying 73% of nests placed. Nest colonization did not differ with nest strata or size. Mean species richness of colonizing ants was significantly higher in the diverse nest size entrance treatment, but did not differ with nest strata. Community composition differed between strata and also between the diverse and uniform size treatments on coffee shrubs, but not on shade trees. Some individual ant species were more frequently found in certain nest strata and in nests with certain entrance sizes. Our results indicate that twig-nesting ants are nest-site limited, quickly occupy artificial nests of many sizes, and that trees or shrubs with twigs of a diversity of entrance sizes likely support higher ant species richness. Further, individual ant species more frequently occupy nests with different sized entrances promoting ant richness on individual

  14. Remarkable invasion of San Francisco Bay (California, USA) by the Asian clam Potamocorbula amurensis. II. Displacement of a former community

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, Frederic H.; Thompson, Janet K.; Schemel, Laurence E.

    1990-01-01

    Long-term macrobenthic sampling at a site in northern San Francisco Bay has provided an unusual opportunity for documenting the time course of an invasion by a recently introduced Asian clam Potamocorbula arnurensis. Between 1977, when sampling began, and 1986, when the new clam was first discovered, the benthic community varied predictably in response to river inflow. During years of normal or high river inflow, the community consisted of a few brackish or freshwater species. During prolonged periods of low river inflow, the number of species doubled as estuarine species (e.g. Mya arenana) migrated up the estuary. In June 1987, at the beginning of the longest dry period in recent decades, large numbers (> 12 000 m-2) of juvenile P. arnurensis were discovered at the site. By midsummer 1988 the new clam predominated (> 95 %) in both total number of individuals and biomass, and the expected dry-period estuarine species did not become re-established. The rapid rise of P. arnurensis to numerical dominance throughout the region of the original introduction was probably facilitated by the fact that this region of the bay had been rendered nearly depauperate by a major flood in early 1986. Once introduced, the clam had sufficient time (> 1 yr) to become well established before the salinity regime was appropriate for the return of the estuarine species. Subsequently, the new clam was apparently able to prevent the return of the dry-period community. Its ability to live in low salinity water (< 1 %o) suggests that P. amurensis may not be displaced with the return of normal winter river flow and, therefore, may have permanently changed benthic community dynamics in this region of San Francisco Bay.

  15. Landscape corridors can increase invasion by an exotic species and reduce diversity of native species.

    SciTech Connect

    Resasco, Julian; et al,

    2014-04-01

    Abstract. Landscape corridors are commonly used to mitigate negative effects of habitat fragmentation, but concerns persist that they may facilitate the spread of invasive species. In a replicated landscape experiment of open habitat, we measured effects of corridors on the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and native ants. Fire ants have two social forms: polygyne, which tend to disperse poorly but establish at high densities, and monogyne, which disperse widely but establish at lower densities. In landscapes dominated by polygyne fire ants, fire ant abundance was higher and native ant diversity was lower in habitat patches connected by corridors than in unconnected patches. Conversely, in landscapes dominated by monogyne fire ants, connectivity had no influence on fire ant abundance and native ant diversity. Polygyne fire ants dominated recently created landscapes, suggesting that these corridor effects may be transient. Our results suggest that corridors can facilitate invasion and they highlight the importance of considering species’ traits when assessing corridor utility.

  16. How does altered precipitation and annual grass invasion affect plant N uptake in a native semi-arid shrub community?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mauritz, M.; Lipson, D.; Cleland, E. E.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns, which will change the timing and amount of plant resources. Precipitation patterns determine water and nitrogen (N) availability, because water stimulates microbial N turnover and N transport. In order for plants to utilize water and N, they must coincide with the phenology and meet physiological requirements of the plant. As resource supply shifts, differences in species' ability to acquire resources will affect plant community composition. Semiarid ecosystems, such as shrublands in Southern California, are particularly sensitive to shifts in precipitation because they are severely water limited. This study takes advantage of the altered phenology and resource demands presented by invasive annual grasses in a native semiarid shrubland. The goal is to understand how altered precipitation patterns affect plant N uptake. Rainfall levels were manipulated to 50% and 150% of ambient levels. It is expected that higher rainfall levels promote annual grass invasion because grasses have higher water and N requirements and begin to grow earlier in the season than shrubs. A 15N tracer was added with the first rain event and plant samples were collected regularly to track the movement of N into the plants. Net soil N accumulation was determined using resin bags. Invasive grasses altered the timing and amount of N uptake but amount of rainfall had less effect on N distribution. 15N was detected sooner and at higher level in grasses than shrubs. 24hours after the first rain event 15N was detectable in grasses, 15N accumulated rapidly and peaked 2 months earlier than shrubs. Shrub 15N levels remained at pre-rain event levels for the first 2 months and began to increase at the beginning of spring, peak mid-spring and decline as the shrubs entered summer dormancy. One year later 15N levels in annual grass litter remained high, while 15N levels in shrubs returned to initial background levels as a result of resorption. 15N

  17. Linking a Large-Watershed Hydrogeochemical Model to a Wetland Community-Ecosystem Model to Estimate Plant Invasion Risk in the Coastal Great Lakes Region, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Currie, W. S.; Bourgeau-Chavez, L. L.; Elgersma, K. J.; French, N. H. F.; Goldberg, D. E.; Hart, S.; Hyndman, D. W.; Kendall, A. D.; Martin, S. L.; Martina, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    In the Laurentian Great Lakes region of the Upper Midwest, USA, agricultural and urban land uses together with high N deposition are contributing to elevated flows of N in rivers and groundwater to coastal wetlands. The functioning of coastal wetlands, which provide a vital link between land and water, are imperative to maintaining the health of the entire Great Lakes Basin. Elevated N inflows are believed to facilitate the spread of large-stature invasive plants (cattails and Phragmites) that reduce biodiversity and have complex effects on other ecosystem services including wetland N retention and C accretion. We enhanced the ILHM (Integrated Landscape Hydrology Model) to simulate the effects of land use on N flows in streams, rivers, and groundwater throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. We used the hydroperiods and N loading rates simulated by ILHM as inputs to the Mondrian model of wetland community-ecosystem processes to estimate invasion risk and other ecosystem services in coastal wetlands around the Michigan coast. Our linked models produced threshold behavior in the success of invasive plants in response to N loading, with the threshold ranging from ca. 8 to 12 g N/m2 y, depending on hydroperiod. Plant invasions increased wetland productivity 3-fold over historically oligotrophic native communities, decreased biodiversity but slightly increased wetland N retention. Regardless of invasion, elevated N loading resulted in significantly enhanced rates of C accretion, providing an important region-wide mechanism of C storage. The linked models predicted a general pattern of greater invasion risk in the southern basins of lakes Michigan and Huron relative to northern areas. The basic mechanisms of invasion have been partially validated in our field mesocosms constructed for this project. The general regional patterns of increased invasion risk have been validated through our field campaigns and remote sensing conducted for this project.

  18. Forest edges and fire ants alter the seed shadow of an ant-dispersed plant.

    PubMed

    Ness, J H

    2004-02-01

    Exotic species invade fragmented, edge-rich habitats readily, yet the distinct impacts of habitat edges and invaders on native biota are rarely distinguished. Both appear detrimental to ant-dispersed plants such as bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. Working in northeastern Georgia (USA), an area characterized by a rich ant-dispersed flora, fragmented forests, and invasions by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, I monitored the interactions between ants and S. canadensis seeds in uninvaded forest interiors, uninvaded forest edges, invaded forest interiors, and invaded forest edges. I observed 95% of the seed dispersal events that occurred within the 60-min observation intervals. Seed collection rates were similar among all four (habitat x invasion) groups. The presence of invasive ants had a strong effect on seed dispersal distance: S. invicta collected most seeds in invaded sites, but was a poorer disperser than four of five native ant taxa. Habitat type (interior versus edge) had no effect on seed dispersal distance, but it had a strong effect on seed dispersal direction. Dispersal towards the edge was disproportionately rare in uninvaded forest edges, and ants in those habitats moved the average dispersed seed approximately 70 cm away from that edge. Dispersal direction was also skewed away from the edge in uninvaded forest interiors and invaded forest edges, albeit non-significantly. This biased dispersal may help explain the rarity of myrmecochorous plants in younger forests and edges, and their poor ability to disperse between fragments. This is the first demonstration that forest edges and S. invicta invasion influence seed dispersal destination and distance, respectively. These forces act independently.

  19. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts

    PubMed Central

    Aranda-Rickert, Adriana; Diez, Patricia; Marazzi, Brigitte

    2014-01-01

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal desert of northwestern Argentina, we surveyed the richness and phenology of EFN plants and their associated ants and examined the patterns in ant–plant interaction networks. We found that 25 ant species and 11 EFN-bearing plant species were linked together through 96 pairs of associations. Plants bearing EFNs were abundant, representing ca. 19 % of the species encountered in transects and 24 % of the plant cover. Most ant species sampled (ca. 77 %) fed on EF nectar. Interactions showed a marked seasonal pattern: EFN secretion was directly related to plant phenology and correlated with the time of highest ant ground activity. Our results reveal that EFN-mediated interactions are ecologically relevant components of deserts, and that EFN-bearing plants are crucial for the survival of desert ant communities. PMID:25381258

  20. The ant raft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Hu, David; Equabai, Solomon

    2009-11-01

    To survive floods, fire ants link their arms together to assemble a raft with their own bodies. Because ants are nearly as dense as water, this cooperative behavior requires that a portion of the ant colony must sacrifice itself by remaining underwater to support the colony's weight. Surprisingly, few ants drown during this process due to a striking metamorphosis of the raft: as we show using time-lapse photography, the raft morphs from a spherical to a pancake shape. This pancake configuration--a monolayer of floating ants supporting their dry counterparts--allows all ants to both breathe and remain united as a colony. Data is presented in the form of the dimensions and the rates of formation of the ant raft. We use the statics of small floating bodies to account for the equilibrium raft size as a function of the initial mass and density of the ants.

  1. Can the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) replace native ants in myrmecochory?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi

    2003-04-01

    We analyse the influence of the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) on the seed dispersal process of the myrmecochorous plants Euphorbia characias, E. biumbellata, Genista linifolia, G. triflora, G. monspessulana and Sarothamnus arboreus. The observations were made in two study plots of Mediterranean cork-oak secondary forest (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile). The presence of L. humile implies the displacement of all native ant species that disperse seeds. Seed transports in the non-invaded zone were carried out by eight ant species. In the invaded zone, L. humile workers removed and transported seeds to the nest. In vertebrate exclusion trials, we observed the same level of seed removal in the invaded and non-invaded zones. Two findings could explain this result. Although mean time to seed localization was higher for native ants (431.7 s) than that for L. humile (150.5 s), the mean proportion of seeds transported after being detected was higher (50.1%) in non-invaded than in invaded (16.8%) zones. The proportion of seeds removed and transported into an ant nest after an ant-seed interaction had dramatically reduced from non-invaded (41.9%) to invaded (7.4%) zones. The levels of seed dispersal by ants found prior to invasion are unlikely to be maintained in invaded zones. However, total replacement of seed dispersal function is possible if contact iteration finally offers similar levels or quantities of seeds reaching the nests. The results obtained confirm that the Argentine ant invasion may affect myrmecochory dramatically in the Mediterranean biome.

  2. The impact of a coastal invasive predator on infaunal communities: Assessing the roles of density and a native counterpart

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregory, Garry J.; Quijón, Pedro A.

    2011-08-01

    Our understanding of the influence of many predatory invaders in areas of increasing overlap with native counterparts remains elusive. In Atlantic Canada, the European green crab, Carcinus maenas, overlaps with the native rock crab, Cancer irroratus, but surprisingly little is known about their effects in the light of their potential interactions. In this study we used short-term cage inclusion experiments to assess the impact of low and high green crab densities upon infaunal communities. Then, we re-assessed this impact by running identical manipulations combining green crabs with rock crabs of comparable size and at similar overall predator densities. Our results indicate that both low and high green crab densities accounted for severe declines in infaunal organisms with respect to ambient cages. Polychaetes, the group best represented in this trial, accounted for most of such decline with densities at least 50% lower in the green crab inclusions. A similar (~ 50%) decline in infaunal density was observed when green crabs and rock crabs were combined at low predator densities. However, at high predator densities their impact on polychaetes, molluscs and total infauna was less severe and non-significant with respect to ambient cages. Our results indicate that between-predator interactions have serious indirect effects on benthic prey and contrast previous results on the role played by these crab species. We propose a re-assessment of the role played by native counterparts while searching for management alternatives to minimize the impact of invasive predators in areas heavily invaded.

  3. Development of a lateral flow immunoassay for rapid field detection of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the United States to minimize the spread of the ant. There remains an acute ...

  4. Ant- and Ant-Colony-Inspired ALife Visual Art.

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior.

  5. Ant- and Ant-Colony-Inspired ALife Visual Art.

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior. PMID:26280070

  6. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliveira, Paulo S.; Freitas, André V. L.

    2004-12-01

    The Brazilian cerrado savanna covers nearly 2 million km2 and has a high incidence on foliage of various liquid food sources such as extrafloral nectar and insect exudates. These liquid rewards generate intense ant activity on cerrado foliage, making ant plant herbivore interactions especially prevalent in this biome. We present data on the distribution and abundance of extrafloral nectaries in the woody flora of cerrado communities and in the flora of other habitats worldwide, and stress the relevance of liquid food sources (including hemipteran honeydew) for the ant fauna. Consumption by ants of plant and insect exudates significantly affects the activity of the associated herbivores of cerrado plant species, with varying impacts on the reproductive output of the plants. Experiments with an ant plant butterfly system unequivocally demonstrate that the behavior of both immature and adult lepidopterans is closely related to the use of a risky host plant, where intensive visitation by ants can have a severe impact on caterpillar survival. We discuss recent evidence suggesting that the occurrence of liquid rewards on leaves plays a key role in mediating the foraging ecology of foliage-dwelling ants, and that facultative ant plant mutualisms are important in structuring the community of canopy arthropods. Ant-mediated effects on cerrado herbivore communities can be revealed by experiments performed on wide spatial scales, including many environmental factors such as soil fertility and vegetation structure. We also present some research questions that could be rewarding to investigate in this major neotropical savanna.

  7. Acoustic communication by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickling, Robert

    2002-05-01

    Many ant species communicate acoustically by stridulating, i.e., running a scraper over a washboard-like set of ridges. Ants appear to be insensitive to airborne sound. Consequently, myrmecologists have concluded that the stridulatory signals are transmitted through the substrate. This has tended to diminish the importance of acoustic communication, and it is currently believed that ant communication is based almost exclusively on pheromones, with acoustic communication assigned an almost nonexistent role. However, it can be shown that acoustic communication between ants is effective only if the medium is air and not the substrate. How, then, is it possible for ants to appear deaf to airborne sound and yet communicate through the air? An explanation is provided in a paper [R. Hickling and R. L. Brown, ``Analysis of acoustic communication by ants,'' J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 108, 1920-1929 (2000)]. Ants are small relative to the wavelengths they generate. Hence, they create a near field, which is characterized by a major increase in sound velocity (particle velocity of sound) in the vicinity of the source. Hair sensilla on the ants' antennae respond to sound velocity. Thus, ants are able to detect near-field sound from other ants and to exclude extraneous airborne sound.

  8. Ecological sampling of ants: competition and biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R

    2009-07-01

    Ants are among the most dominant taxa in terrestrial ecosystems, despite their small individual size. Furthermore, they are a hyperdiverse family with an estimated 20,000 species. Together, these two properties make ants a model for ecological interactions (specifically competition) and biodiversity estimation. Although there are many means of measuring diversity, the two most common among myrmecologists are baiting and pitfall trapping. Pitfall traps provide an almost unbiased estimate of the ground foraging community, whereas baiting allows the estimation of ecological dominance and the competitive outcomes between species. This protocol describes an approach to assay both abundance (pitfall traps) and ecological interactions (baits) in the same community. PMID:20147206

  9. Microinvertebrates in CELSS Hydroponic Rhizosphere: Experimental Invasion as a Test of Community Stability and a Test of a Method to Measure Bacterivory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sager, John; Garland, Jay; Jenkins, David G.

    1996-01-01

    This report consists of two separate draft manuscripts, each prepared for submittal to a peer-reviewed journal after Kennedy Space Center (KSC) colleague editorial review and final revision. References for the two papers have been combined in this report. The two manuscripts are: (1) Experimental invasion of aquatic rhizosphere habitat and invertebrate communities, and (2) Lysozyme analysis is neither protistan- or bacteriore-specific.

  10. Behind every great ant, there is a great gut.

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Michael; Sapountzis, Panagiotis

    2012-05-01

    Ants are quite possibly the most successful insects on Earth, with an estimated 10,000 species worldwide, making up at least a third of the global insect biomass, and comprising several times the biomass of all land vertebrates combined. Ant species have diverse trophic habits, including herbivory, hunting/gathering, scavenging and predation and are distributed in diverse habitats, performing a variety of important ecosystem functions. Often they exert these functions while engaging in symbiotic associations with other insects, plants or microbes; however, remarkably little work has focused on the potential contribution of the ants' gut symbionts. This issue of Molecular Ecology contains a study by Anderson et al. (2012), who take a comparative approach to explore the link between trophic levels and ant microbiomes, specifically, to address three main questions: (i) Do closely related herbivorous ants share similar bacterial communities? (ii) Do species of predatory ants share similar bacterial communities? (iii) Do distantly related herbivorous ants tend to share similar bacterial communities? By doing so, the authors demonstrate that ants with similar trophic habits appear to have relatively conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host. These findings suggest an ecological role of gut symbionts in ants, for example, in metabolism and/or protection, and the comparative approach taken supports a model of co-evolution between ant species and specific core symbiont microbiomes. This study, thereby, highlights the omnipresence and importance of gut symbioses-also in the Hymenoptera-and suggests that these hitherto overlooked microbes likely have contributed to the ecological success of the ants.

  11. Long term non-invasive ventilation in the community for patients with musculoskeletal disorders: 46 year experience and review

    PubMed Central

    Baydur, A.; Layne, E.; Aral, H.; Krishnareddy, N.; Topacio, R.; Frederick, G.; Bodden, W.

    2000-01-01

    /interface discomfort and self-discontinuation of ventilation also occurred at a rate 2.3 times higher than in the group who received body ventilation. None of the six patients with chest wall disorders (all on M/NIPPV) required tracheostomy or died. Hospital admission rates increased nearly eightfold in patients receiving body ventilation (all poliomyelitis patients) compared with before ventilation (p<0.01) while in those supported by M/NIPPV they were reduced by 36%.
CONCLUSIONS—Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in the community over prolonged periods is a feasible although variably tolerated form of management in patients with neuromuscular disorders. While patients who received body ventilation were followed the longest (mean 24 years), the need for tracheostomy and deaths occurred more often in this group (most commonly in the poliomyelitis patients). Despite a number of discomforts associated with M/NIPPV, a larger proportion of patients experienced improved wellbeing, independence, and ability to perform daily activities.

 PMID:10607795

  12. Effectiveness of Ng'adakarin Bamocha model in improving access to ante-natal and delivery services among nomadic pastoralist communities of Turkana West and Turkana North Sub-Counties of Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Jillo, Jillo Ali; Ofware, Peter Obonyo; Njuguna, Susan; Mwaura-Tenambergen, Wanja

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Access to maternal and child health care services among the nomadic pastoralists community in Kenya and African continent in general is unacceptably low. In Turkana, only 18.1% of the women had seen a nurse or a midwife for antenatal care during pregnancy while only 1.3% of pregnant women reported delivery at health facilities in 2005. Ng'adakarin BAMOCHA model, based on migratory routes of the Turkana pastoralists and container clinics was adopted in 2007 to improve access to maternal and child health services by the nomads. Methods A cross-sectional study design was used to establish the effectiveness of Ng'adakarin BAMOCHA model on accessibility and uptake of ante-natal care and delivery services. A total of 360 households and 400 households were interviewed for pre-intervention and post-intervention respectively. The study compared the pre-intervention and post-intervention findings. Structured questionnaires and focus group discussion were used for data collection. Results There was no improvement in the fourth ante-natal care visits between pre-intervention and post-intervention groups at 119(51.5%) and 111(41.9%) respectively (p < 0.05). Knowledge of the community on the importance of ANC visits improved from 60%-72% with significance level of p < 0.05. There was a significant increase 6%-17% of deliveries under a skilled health worker (p < 0.05). TBA assisted deliveries increased from 7.5%- 20.2% with a p < 0.05. There was significant reduction in home deliveries from 89.5%-79.5% with a p < 0.05. Conclusion The Ng'adakarin Bamocha model had a positive effect on the improving maternal health care among the nomadic pastoralist community in Turkana. PMID:26301007

  13. Impacts of an Invasive Non-Native Annual Weed, Impatiens glandulifera, on Above- and Below-Ground Invertebrate Communities in the United Kingdom

    PubMed Central

    Tanner, Robert A.; Varia, Sonal; Eschen, René; Wood, Suzy; Murphy, Sean T.; Gange, Alan C.

    2013-01-01

    Vegetation community composition and the above- and below-ground invertebrate communities are linked intrinsically, though few studies have assessed the impact of non-native plants on both these parts of the community together. We evaluated the differences in the above- (foliage- and ground-dwelling) and below-ground invertebrate communities in nine uninvaded plots and nine plots invaded by the annual invasive species Impatiens glandulifera, in the UK during 2007 and 2008. Over 139,000 invertebrates were identified into distinct taxa and categorised into functional feeding groups. The impact of I. glandulifera on the vegetation and invertebrate community composition was evaluated using multivariate statistics including principal response curves (PRC) and redundancy analysis (RDA). In the foliage-dwelling community, all functional feeding groups were less abundant in the invaded plots, and the species richness of Coleoptera and Heteroptera was significantly reduced. In the ground-dwelling community, herbivores, detritivores, and predators were all significantly less abundant in the invaded plots. In contrast, these functional groups in the below-ground community appeared to be largely unaffected, and even positively associated with the presence of I. glandulifera. Although the cover of I. glandulifera decreased in the invaded plots in the second year of the study, only the below-ground invertebrate community showed a significant response. These results indicate that the above- and below-ground invertebrate communities respond differently to the presence of I. glandulifera, and these community shifts can potentially lead to a habitat less biologically diverse than surrounding native communities; which could have negative impacts on higher trophic levels and ecosystem functioning. PMID:23840648

  14. CHANGES IN THE FRESHWATER BENTHIC COMMUNITY OF LAKE ONTARIO SINCE THE INVASION OF DREISSENA 1972-1997

    EPA Science Inventory

    Population changes of three major benthic taxa are discussed in relation to Dreissena spp. Lake Ontario was sampled pre-invasion (1972) and post-invasion (1994, 1997) for abundance of benthic organisms. In offshore sediments of Lake Ontario, neither species composition nor abunda...

  15. Ants (Formicidae): models for social complexity.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Dolezal, Adam; Eliyahu, Dorit; Holbrook, C Tate; Gadau, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

    The family Formicidae (ants) is composed of more than 12,000 described species that vary greatly in size, morphology, behavior, life history, ecology, and social organization. Ants occur in most terrestrial habitats and are the dominant animals in many of them. They have been used as models to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, behavior, and development. The literature on ants is extensive, and the natural history of many species is known in detail. Phylogenetic relationships for the family, as well as within many subfamilies, are known, enabling comparative studies. Their ease of sampling and ecological variation makes them attractive for studying populations and questions relating to communities. Their sociality and variation in social organization have contributed greatly to an understanding of complex systems, division of labor, and chemical communication. Ants occur in colonies composed of tens to millions of individuals that vary greatly in morphology, physiology, and behavior; this variation has been used to address proximate and ultimate mechanisms generating phenotypic plasticity. Relatedness asymmetries within colonies have been fundamental to the formulation and empirical testing of kin and group selection theories. Genomic resources have been developed for some species, and a whole-genome sequence for several species is likely to follow in the near future; comparative genomics in ants should provide new insights into the evolution of complexity and sociogenomics. Future studies using ants should help establish a more comprehensive understanding of social life, from molecules to colonies. PMID:20147200

  16. Arthropods of Rose Atoll with special reference to ants and Pulvinaria Urbicola Scales (Hempitera Coccidae) on Pisonia Grandis trees

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Pendleton, Frank; Schmaedick, Mark; Ernsberger, Kelsie

    2014-01-01

    Rose Atoll, at the eastern end of the Samoan Archipelago, is a small but important refuge for seabirds, shorebirds, and sea turtles. While the vertebrate community is relatively well-studied, the terrestrial arthropod fauna, and its role in ecosystem function, are poorly known. Arthropods may be influencing the decline of Pisonia grandis, an ecologically important tree that once dominated the 6.6 ha of land on Rose Atoll. Reasons for the decline are not fully understood but a facultative relationship between two invasive arthropods, the soft scale Pulvinaria urbicola and ants, likely has contributed to tree death. The primary objectives of this study were to systematically survey the terrestrial arthropod fauna and identify ant species that tend scales on Pisonia. Using an array of standard arthropod collecting techniques, at least 73 species from 20 orders were identified, including nine ant species. Of the ants collected, only Tetramorium bicarinatum and T. simillimum were observed tending scales on Pisonia. No known natural enemies of Pulvinaria scales were found, suggesting little predation on scale populations. Treatment of Pisonia with the systemic insecticide imidacloprid failed to eliminate Pulvinaria scales, although short-term suppression apparently occurred. The arthropod fauna of Rose Atoll is dominated by exotic species that likely have a significant impact on the structure and function of the island’s ecosystem.

  17. Multiple Ant Species Tending Lac Insect Kerria yunnanensis (Hemiptera: Kerriidae) Provide Asymmetric Protection against Parasitoids

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiao; Hoffmann, Benjamin D.; Zhang, Wei

    2014-01-01

    This study investigated the effects of ant attendance on the parasitoid community and parasitism of lac insect Kerria yunnanensis aggregations in Yunnan province, China. We manipulated ant attendance to establish three treatments: (1) ant exclusion; (2) low ant attendance by several ant species; and (3) high ant attendance by Crematogaster macaoensis. Five parasitoid species were collected, with two species contributing 82.7 and 13.2% of total abundance respectively. Total parasitoid abundance was lowest in the February sample when K. yunnanensis was in its younger life stage, being significantly lower in the ant exclusion treatment. In April, all three treatments had significantly different parasitoid abundances, being highest in the ant exclusion treatment and the lowest in the high ant attendance treatment. When ants were present, there were strong negative relationships between total parasitoid abundance and ant abundance, with the relationships being dependent upon the ant species composition and abundance. The patterns of total parasitoid abundance were driven by the two most abundant parasitoid species. Parasitoid species richness did not differ among treatments or between sample times, however, multivariate analysis confirmed that overall parasitoid community structure differed significantly among treatments and between sample times, with the high ant attendance treatment differing most from the other two treatments. Interestingly the absence of ants did not result in increased parasitism from four of the five parasitoids. Ants in lac insect farming systems have a clear role for agricultural pest management. A full understanding of the asymmetric abilities of ants to influence parasitoid communities, and affect parasitism of hosts will require further experimental manipulation to assess the relative roles of 1) the abundance of each individual ant species on parasitoid access to hosts, 2) competition among parasitoids, and 3) the interaction between the

  18. The effect of disturbance on an ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah

    2011-06-01

    Protective ant-plant mutualisms-where plants provide food or shelter to ants and ants protect the plants from herbivores-are a common feature in many ecological communities, but few studies have examined the effect of disturbance on these interactions. Disturbance may affect the relationship between plants and their associated ant mutualists by increasing the plants' susceptibility to herbivores, changing the amount of reward provided for the ants, and altering the abundance of ants and other predators. Pruning was used to simulate the damage to buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus) caused by hurricanes. Pruned plants grew faster than unpruned plants, produced lower levels of physical anti-herbivore defenses (trichomes, toughness), and higher levels of chemical defenses (tannins) and extrafloral nectaries. Thus, simulated hurricane damage increased plant growth and the amount of reward provided to ant mutualists, but did not have consistent effects on other anti-herbivore defenses. Both herbivores and ants increased in abundance on pruned plants, indicating that the effects of simulated hurricane damage on plant traits were propagated to higher trophic levels. Ant-exclusion led to higher leaf damage on both pruned and upruned plants. The effect of ant-exclusion did not differ between pruned and unpruned plants, despite the fact that pruned plants had higher ant and herbivore densities, produced more extrafloral nectaries, and had fewer physical defenses. Another common predator, clubionid spiders, increased in abundance on pruned plants from which ants had been excluded. I suggest that compensatory predation by these spiders diminished the effect of ant-exclusion on pruned plants.

  19. Ant predation on herbivores through a multitrophic lens: how effects of ants on plant herbivore defense and natural enemies vary along temperature gradients.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Castañeda, G; Brehm, G; Fiedler, K; Dyer, L A

    2016-04-01

    Ants are keystone predators in terrestrial trophic cascades. Addressing ants' roles in multitrophic interactions across regional gradients is important for understanding mechanisms behind range limits of species. We present four hypotheses of trophic dynamics occurring when ants are rare: first, there is a shift in predator communities; second, plants decrease investments in ant attraction and increase production of secondary metabolites; third, lower herbivory at high elevations allows plants to tolerate herbivory; and fourth, distribution of ant-plants can be limited based on ant abundance. Conducting experiments on multitrophic effects of ants across elevational gradients, and incorporating these results to ecological niche modeling (ENM) will improve our knowledge of the impacts of global change on ants, trophic interactions, and biodiversity. PMID:27436650

  20. Field tests of interspecific competition in ant assemblages: revisiting the dominant red wood ants.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise; Johansson, Therese

    2011-05-01

    1. There has been considerable debate on the importance of competition in ecological communities, but its importance in structuring ant assemblages has often been uncritically accepted. Here, we briefly review field experiments examining competition in ant assemblages and use a removal experiment to test the effect of the classical territorial dominant ant, Formica aquilonia. Ants of this species group are thought to structure communities through a dominance hierarchy. 2. First, we used pitfall traps to compare the abundance of other ants in replicated sites with low and high densities of F. aquilonia. We found differences in community composition, in particular, Camponotus herculeanus was more common in low-density sites, in accordance with predictions. Differences in ant assemblages were not owing to differences in measured habitat variables. 3. We removed F. aquilonia from a set of high-density sites, using physical and chemical methods, and repeated these procedures at procedural control sites. One year after removal, abundances of F. aquilonia at removal sites were similar to those at low-density sites. However, the composition of other species did not change in response to F. aquilonia removal. Replication rates were identical in the mensurative and experimental components of this study, so this is unlikely to be owing to the analysis being insufficiently powerful. 4. We suggest three possibilities for the lack of difference. First, the study may have been too short term or small scale to detect differences. However, previous studies have shown effects on smaller spatial- and temporal-scales. Second, priority effects may be important in the successful colonisation by F. aquilonia. Thirdly, boreal ant assemblages may be too depauperate for redundancy in ecological roles and for competition to play an important structuring role. 5. We thus recommend that long-term large-scale experiments be considered essential if we are to distinguish between competing

  1. Invasive Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a Japanese Girl with Disseminating Multiple Organ Infection: A Case Report and Review of Japanese Pediatric Cases

    PubMed Central

    Yonezawa, Ryuta; Kuwana, Tsukasa; Kawamura, Kengo; Inamo, Yasuji

    2015-01-01

    Pediatric invasive community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection is very serious and occasionally fatal. This infectious disease is still a relatively rare and unfamiliar infectious disease in Japan. We report a positive outcome in a 23-month-old Japanese girl with meningitis, osteomyelitis, fasciitis, necrotizing pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and bacteremia due to CA-MRSA treated with linezolid. PCR testing of the CA-MRSA strain was positive for PVL and staphylococcal enterotoxin b and negative for ACME. SCC mec was type IVa. This case underscores the selection of effective combinations of antimicrobial agents for its treatment. We need to be aware of invasive CA-MRSA infection, which rapidly progresses with a serious clinical course, because the incidence of the disease may be increasing in Japan. PMID:26819794

  2. Positive-strand RNA viruses infecting the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The black imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri) and red imported fire ant (S. invicta) are invasive species that were introduced into the United States between 1918 and 1945. Since that time, they have expanded their U.S. range to include some 138 million hectares from Virginia, south to Florida,...

  3. The first mesozoic ants.

    PubMed

    Wilson, E O; Carpenter, F M; Brown, W L

    1967-09-01

    Two worker ants preserved in amber of Upper Cretaceous age have been found in New Jersey. They are the first undisputed remains of social insects of Mesozoic age, extending the existence of social life in insects back to approximately 100 million years. They are also the earliest known fossils that can be assigned with certainty to aculeate Hymenoptera. The species, Sphecomyrma freyi, is considered to represent a new subfamily (Sphecomyrminae), more primitive than any previously known ant group. It forms a near-perfect link between certain nonsocial tiphiid wasps and the most primitive myrmecioid ants.

  4. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants occur in most environments and ecologists ask a diverse array of questions involving ants. Thus, a key consideration in ant studies is to match the environment and question (and associated environmental variables) to the ant sampling technique. Since each technique has distinct limitations, usi...

  5. Toxicity and utilization of chemical weapons: does toxicity and venom utilization contribute to the formation of species communities?

    PubMed Central

    Westermann, Fabian L; McPherson, Iain S; Jones, Tappey H; Milicich, Lesley; Lester, Philip J

    2015-01-01

    Toxicity and the utilization of venom are essential features in the ecology of many animal species and have been hypothesized to be important factors contributing to the assembly of communities through competitive interactions. Ants of the genus Monomorium utilize a variety of venom compositions, which have been reported to give them a competitive advantage. Here, we investigate two pairs of Monomorium species, which differ in the structural compositions of their venom and their co-occurrence patterns with the invasive Argentine ant. We looked at the effects of Monomorium venom toxicity, venom utilization, and aggressive physical interactions on Monomorium and Argentine ant survival rates during arena trials. The venom toxicity of the two species co-occurring with the invasive Argentine ants was found to be significantly higher than the toxicity of the two species which do not. There was no correlation between venom toxicity and Monomorium survival; however, three of the four Monomorium species displayed significant variability in their venom usage which was associated with the number of Argentine ant workers encountered during trials. Average Monomorium mortality varied significantly between species, and in Monomorium smithii and Monomorium antipodum, aggressive interactions with Argentine ants had a significant negative effect on their mortality. Our study demonstrates that different factors and strategies can contribute to the ability of a species to withstand the pressure of a dominant invader at high abundance, and venom chemistry appears to be only one of several strategies utilized. PMID:26357539

  6. The Argentine ant persists through unfavorable winters via a mutualism facilitated by a native tree.

    PubMed

    Brightwell, Robert J; Silverman, Jules

    2011-10-01

    Mutualisms and facilitations can fundamentally change the relationship between an organism's realized and fundamental niche. Invasive species may prove particularly suitable models for investigating this relationship as many are dependent on finding new partners for successful establishment. We conducted field-based experiments testing whether a native tree facilitates the successful survival of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), through unfavorable winter conditions in the southeastern United States. We found Argentine ant nests aggregated around the native loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L., during the winter months. The bark of this tree absorbed enough radiant solar energy to reach temperatures suitable for Argentine ant foraging even when ambient temperatures should have curtailed all foraging. Conversely, foraging ceased when the trunk was shaded. The sun-warmed bark of this tree gave the Argentine ant access to a stable honeydew resource. Argentine ants were not found on or near deciduous trees even though bark temperatures were warm enough to permit Argentine ant foraging on cold winter days. Augmenting deciduous trees with sucrose water through the winter months lead to Argentine ant nests remaining at their base and Argentine ants foraging on the tree. The Argentine ant requires both foraging opportunity and a reliable winter food source to survive through unfavorable winter conditions in the southeastern United States. The loblolly pine provided both of these requirements extending the realized niche of Argentine ants beyond its fundamental niche.

  7. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Myers, P.E.; Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.

    2014-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail, Colinus virginianus (L.) (Galliformes: Odontophoridae), population declines are well documented, but pinpointing the reasons for these decreases has proven elusive. Bobwhite population declines are attributed primarily to loss of habitat and land use changes. This, however, does not entirely explain population declines in areas intensively managed for bobwhites. Although previous research demonstrates the negative impact of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on northern bobwhites, the mechanisms underlying this effect are largely unknown. To meet the protein demands of early growth and development, bobwhite chicks predominantly consume small insects, of which ants are a substantial proportion. Fire ants alter ant community dynamics by often reducing native ant diversity and abundance while concurrently increasing the abundance of individuals. Fire ants have negative effects on chicks, but they are also a large potential protein source, making it difficult to disentangle their net effect on bobwhite chicks. To help investigate these effects, we conducted a laboratory experiment to understand (1) whether or not bobwhites consume fire ants, and (2) how the benefits of this consumption compare to the deleterious impacts of bobwhite chick exposure to fire ants. Sixty bobwhite chicks were separated into two groups of 30; one group was provided with starter feed only and the second group was provided with feed and fire ants. Bobwhite chicks were observed feeding on fire ants. Chicks that fed on fire ants had reduced survival and weight gain. Our results show that, while fire ants increase potential food sources for northern bobwhite, their net effect on bobwhite chicks is deleterious. This information will help inform land managers and commercial bobwhite rearing operations.

  8. Trail Pheromone Disruption of Argentine Ant Trail Formation and Foraging

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Stringer, L.D.; Snook, K.; Banko, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2-3 m s-1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. ?? Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

  9. Trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail formation and foraging.

    PubMed

    Suckling, David Maxwell; Peck, Robert W; Stringer, Lloyd D; Snook, Kirsten; Banko, Paul C

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2–3 m s−1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. PMID:20077128

  10. The role of multiple pheromones in food recruitment by ants.

    PubMed

    Dussutour, A; Nicolis, S C; Shephard, G; Beekman, M; Sumpter, D J T

    2009-08-01

    In this paper we investigate the foraging activity of an invasive ant species, the big headed ant Pheidole megacephala. We establish that the ants' behavior is consistent with the use of two different pheromone signals, both of which recruit nestmates. Our experiments suggest that during exploration the ants deposit a long-lasting pheromone that elicits a weak recruitment of nestmates, while when exploiting food the ants deposit a shorter lasting pheromone eliciting a much stronger recruitment. We further investigate experimentally the role of these pheromones under both static and dynamic conditions and develop a mathematical model based on the hypothesis that exploration locally enhances exploitation, while exploitation locally suppresses exploration. The model and the experiments indicate that exploratory pheromone allows the colony to more quickly mobilize foragers when food is discovered. Furthermore, the combination of two pheromones allows colonies to track changing foraging conditions more effectively than would a single pheromone. In addition to the already known causes for the ecological success of invasive ant species, our study suggests that their opportunistic strategy of rapid food discovery and ability to react to changes in the environment may have strongly contributed to their dominance over native species. PMID:19617426

  11. Ant Colonies Prefer Infected over Uninfected Nest Sites

    PubMed Central

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Linksvayer, Timothy A.

    2014-01-01

    During colony relocation, the selection of a new nest involves exploration and assessment of potential sites followed by colony movement on the basis of a collective decision making process. Hygiene and pathogen load of the potential nest sites are factors worker scouts might evaluate, given the high risk of epidemics in group-living animals. Choosing nest sites free of pathogens is hypothesized to be highly efficient in invasive ants as each of their introduced populations is often an open network of nests exchanging individuals (unicolonial) with frequent relocation into new nest sites and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown with sporulating mycelium of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (infected nests), nests containing nestmates killed by freezing (uninfected nests), and empty nests. In contrast to the expectation pharaoh ant colonies preferentially (84%) moved into the infected nest when presented with the choice of an infected and an uninfected nest. The ants had an intermediate preference for empty nests. Pharaoh ants display an overall preference for infected nests during colony relocation. While we cannot rule out that the ants are actually manipulated by the pathogen, we propose that this preference might be an adaptive strategy by the host to “immunize” the colony against future exposure to the same pathogenic fungus. PMID:25372856

  12. Endemic predators, invasive prey and native diversity

    PubMed Central

    Wanger, Thomas C.; Wielgoss, Arno C.; Motzke, Iris; Clough, Yann; Brook, Barry W.; Sodhi, Navjot S.; Tscharntke, Teja

    2011-01-01

    Interactions between native diversity and invasive species can be more complex than is currently understood. Invasive ant species often substantially reduce diversity in the native ants diversity that act as natural control agents for pest insects. In Indonesia (on the island of Sulawesi), the third largest cacao producer worldwide, we show that a predatory endemic toad (Ingerophrynus celebensis) controls invasive ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) abundance, and positively affects native ant diversity. We call this the invasive-naivety effect (an opposite of enemy release), whereby alien species may not harbour anti-predatory defences against a novel native predator. A positive effect of the toads on native ants may facilitate their predation on insect vectors of cacao diseases. Hence, toads may increase crop yield, but further research is needed on this aspect. Ironically, amphibians are globally the most threatened vertebrate class and are strongly impacted by the conversion of rainforest to cacao plantations in Sulawesi. It is, therefore, crucial to manage cacao plantations to maintain these endemic toads, as they may provide critical ecosystem services, such as invasion resistance and preservation of native insect diversity. PMID:20826488

  13. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

    Bos, N; Lefèvre, T; Jensen, A B; d'Ettorre, P

    2012-02-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), we show that infected ants radically change their behaviour over time to reduce the risk of colony infection. Infected individuals (i) performed less social interactions than their uninfected counterparts, (ii) did not interact with brood anymore and (iii) spent most of their time outside the nest from day 3 post-infection until death. Furthermore, infected ants displayed an increased aggressiveness towards non-nestmates. Finally, infected ants did not alter their cuticular chemical profile, suggesting that infected individuals do not signal their physiological status to nestmates. Our results provide evidence for the evolution of unsociability following pathogen infection in a social animal and suggest an important role of inclusive fitness in driving such evolution.

  14. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

    Bos, N; Lefèvre, T; Jensen, A B; d'Ettorre, P

    2012-02-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), we show that infected ants radically change their behaviour over time to reduce the risk of colony infection. Infected individuals (i) performed less social interactions than their uninfected counterparts, (ii) did not interact with brood anymore and (iii) spent most of their time outside the nest from day 3 post-infection until death. Furthermore, infected ants displayed an increased aggressiveness towards non-nestmates. Finally, infected ants did not alter their cuticular chemical profile, suggesting that infected individuals do not signal their physiological status to nestmates. Our results provide evidence for the evolution of unsociability following pathogen infection in a social animal and suggest an important role of inclusive fitness in driving such evolution. PMID:22122288

  15. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... and the patient will develop difficulty breathing in addition to weakness. Patients who develop anaphylaxis and have a significant history of systemic reactions to fire ant stings should be checked for ...

  16. Effects of invasive European bird cherry (Prunus padus) on leaf litter processing by aquatic invertebrate shredder communities in urban Alaskan streams

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roon, David A.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Wurtz, Tricia L.

    2014-01-01

    European bird cherry (Prunus padus) (EBC) is an invasive ornamental tree that is spreading rapidly in riparian forests of urban Alaska. To determine how the spread of EBC affects leaf litter processing by aquatic invertebrate shredders, we conducted complementary leaf pack experiments in two streams located in Anchorage, Alaska. The first experiment contrasted invasive EBC with three native tree species—thin-leaf alder (Alnus tenuifolia), paper birch (Betula neoalaskana), and black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)—in one reach of Chester Creek; finding that EBC leaf litter broke down significantly faster than birch and cottonwood, but at a similar rate to alder. The second experiment contrasted EBC with alder in four reaches of Campbell and Chester creeks; finding that while EBC leaf litter broke down significantly faster than alder in Chester Creek, EBC broke down at a similar rate to alder in Campbell Creek. Although EBC sometimes supported fewer shredders by both count and mass, shredder communities did not differ significantly between EBC and native plants. Collectively, these data suggest that invasive EBC is not currently exhibiting strong negative impacts on leaf litter processing in these streams, but could if it continues to spread and further displaces native species over time.

  17. Ant traffic rules.

    PubMed

    Fourcassié, Vincent; Dussutour, Audrey; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2010-07-15

    Many animals take part in flow-like collective movements. In most species, however, the flow is unidirectional. Ants are one of the rare group of organisms in which flow-like movements are predominantly bidirectional. This adds to the difficulty of the task of maintaining a smooth, efficient movement. Yet, ants seem to fare well at this task. Do they really? And if so, how do such simple organisms succeed in maintaining a smooth traffic flow, when even humans experience trouble with this task? How does traffic in ants compare with that in human pedestrians or vehicles? The experimental study of ant traffic is only a few years old but it has already provided interesting insights into traffic organization and regulation in animals, showing in particular that an ant colony as a whole can be considered as a typical self-organized adaptive system. In this review we will show that the study of ant traffic can not only uncover basic principles of behavioral ecology and evolution in social insects but also provide new insights into the study of traffic systems in general. PMID:20581264

  18. Ants and ant scent reduce bumblebee pollination of artificial flowers.

    PubMed

    Cembrowski, Adam R; Tan, Marcus G; Thomson, James D; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Ants on flowers can disrupt pollination by consuming rewards or harassing pollinators, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of these exploitative and interference forms of competition on pollinator behavior. Using highly rewarding and quickly replenishing artificial flowers that simulate male or female function, we allowed bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) to forage (1) on flowers with or without ants (Myrmica rubra) and (2) on flowers with or without ant scent cues. Bumblebees transferred significantly more pollen analogue both to and from ant-free flowers, demonstrating that interference competition with ants is sufficient to modify pollinator foraging behavior. Bees also removed significantly less pollen analogue from ant-scented flowers than from controls, making this the first study to show that bees can use ant scent to avoid harassment at flowers. Ant effects on pollinator behavior, possibly in addition to their effects on pollen viability, may contribute to the evolution of floral traits minimizing ant visitation.

  19. Ants and ant scent reduce bumblebee pollination of artificial flowers.

    PubMed

    Cembrowski, Adam R; Tan, Marcus G; Thomson, James D; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Ants on flowers can disrupt pollination by consuming rewards or harassing pollinators, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of these exploitative and interference forms of competition on pollinator behavior. Using highly rewarding and quickly replenishing artificial flowers that simulate male or female function, we allowed bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) to forage (1) on flowers with or without ants (Myrmica rubra) and (2) on flowers with or without ant scent cues. Bumblebees transferred significantly more pollen analogue both to and from ant-free flowers, demonstrating that interference competition with ants is sufficient to modify pollinator foraging behavior. Bees also removed significantly less pollen analogue from ant-scented flowers than from controls, making this the first study to show that bees can use ant scent to avoid harassment at flowers. Ant effects on pollinator behavior, possibly in addition to their effects on pollen viability, may contribute to the evolution of floral traits minimizing ant visitation. PMID:24334742

  20. Sensitivity and accuracy of DNA based methods used to describe aquatic communities for early detection of invasive fish species

    EPA Science Inventory

    For biomonitoring efforts aimed at early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS), the ability to detect rare individuals is key and requires accurate species level identification to maintain a low occurrence probability of non-detection errors (failure to detect a present spe...

  1. A Review of the Biological Control of Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The suppression of well-established invasive ants will likely require biological control by natural enemies. This approach is self-sustaining and can impact undetected or inaccessible populations that are the source of the continual presence and expansion of the invaders. There is an ongoing effor...

  2. Cheatgrass invasion and wildlife habitat

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The introduction and subsequent invasion of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has altered native plant communities and the wildlife species that depend on these communities. Cheatgrass has truncated secondary succession by outcompeting native plant species for limited resources, thus building persistent...

  3. Effects of invasive fish and quality of water and sediment on macrophytes biomass, and their consequences for the waterbird community of a Mediterranean floodplain.

    PubMed

    Laguna, Celia; López-Perea, Jhon J; Viñuela, Javier; Florín, Máximo; Feliu, Jordi; Chicote, Álvaro; Cirujano, Santos; Mateo, Rafael

    2016-05-01

    Floodplains are among the most threatened ecosystems world-wide because of multiple stressors, i.e., invasive species, pollution and aquifer overexploitation; the Tablas de Daimiel National Park (Spain) is a clear example of these kinds of impact. This work aims to test whether invasive fish and/or the water and sediment quality are significant drivers of the decline of stonewort (Chara spp.) meadows in the Tablas de Daimiel, investigating how this could explain changes observed in the waterbird community. Bird surveys performed monthly between June 2010 and April 2014 have shown that herbivorous species like the red-crested pochard (Netta rufina) reached historical records between September 2010 and June 2011, but have decreased since then. Piscivorous waterbirds like the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and herons increased in population after 2011, however. These changes may be due to the decline of Chara spp. meadows, connected to overexploitation by herbivores, or to changes in water and sediment quality. To test this hypothesis, we studied the growth of Chara spp. biomass in ten sites of the Tablas de Daimiel, where experimental exclosures were set up to exclude herbivory by birds, and bioturbation and herbivory by fish. Our results have shown that the absence of Chara spp. in the Tablas de Daimiel is mostly explained by presence of invasive fish (i.e. common carp). Moreover, the physicochemical characteristics of the water (lower values of conductivity and higher values of inorganic carbon and organic nitrogen), as well as of the sediment (lower values of inorganic and organic phosphorus), favour the increase of Chara spp., in the absence of the fish effect. These results led the National Park managers to begin the control of invasive fish as an urgent measure to assure the ecological conservation of this Mediterranean wetland.

  4. Effects of invasive fish and quality of water and sediment on macrophytes biomass, and their consequences for the waterbird community of a Mediterranean floodplain.

    PubMed

    Laguna, Celia; López-Perea, Jhon J; Viñuela, Javier; Florín, Máximo; Feliu, Jordi; Chicote, Álvaro; Cirujano, Santos; Mateo, Rafael

    2016-05-01

    Floodplains are among the most threatened ecosystems world-wide because of multiple stressors, i.e., invasive species, pollution and aquifer overexploitation; the Tablas de Daimiel National Park (Spain) is a clear example of these kinds of impact. This work aims to test whether invasive fish and/or the water and sediment quality are significant drivers of the decline of stonewort (Chara spp.) meadows in the Tablas de Daimiel, investigating how this could explain changes observed in the waterbird community. Bird surveys performed monthly between June 2010 and April 2014 have shown that herbivorous species like the red-crested pochard (Netta rufina) reached historical records between September 2010 and June 2011, but have decreased since then. Piscivorous waterbirds like the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and herons increased in population after 2011, however. These changes may be due to the decline of Chara spp. meadows, connected to overexploitation by herbivores, or to changes in water and sediment quality. To test this hypothesis, we studied the growth of Chara spp. biomass in ten sites of the Tablas de Daimiel, where experimental exclosures were set up to exclude herbivory by birds, and bioturbation and herbivory by fish. Our results have shown that the absence of Chara spp. in the Tablas de Daimiel is mostly explained by presence of invasive fish (i.e. common carp). Moreover, the physicochemical characteristics of the water (lower values of conductivity and higher values of inorganic carbon and organic nitrogen), as well as of the sediment (lower values of inorganic and organic phosphorus), favour the increase of Chara spp., in the absence of the fish effect. These results led the National Park managers to begin the control of invasive fish as an urgent measure to assure the ecological conservation of this Mediterranean wetland. PMID:26896580

  5. Wood-nesting ants and their parasites in forests and coffee agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    De La Mora, Aldo; Philpott, Stacy M

    2010-10-01

    Agricultural intensification is linked to reduced species richness and may limit the effectiveness of predators in agricultural systems. We studied the abundance, diversity, and species composition of wood-nesting ants and frequency of parasitism of poneromorph ants in coffee agroeco systems and a forest fragment in Chiapas, Mexico. In three farms differing in shade management and in a nearby forest fragment, we surveyed ants nesting in rotten wood. We collected pupae of all poneromorph ants encountered, and incubated pupae for 15 d to recover emerging ant parasites. If no parasites emerged, we dissected pupae to examine for parasitism. Overall, we found 63 ant morphospecies, 29 genera, and 7 subfamilies from 520 colonies. There were no significant differences in ant richness or abundance between the different sites. However, there were significant differences in the species composition of ants sampled in the four different sites. The parasitism rates of ants differed according to site; in the forest 77.7% of species were parasitized, and this number declined with increasing intensification in traditional polyculture (40%),commercial polyculture (25%), and shade monoculture (16.6%). For three of four poneromorph species found in >1 habitat, parasitism rates were higher in the more vegetatively complex sites. The result that both ant species composition and ant parasitism differed among by site indicates that coffee management intensification affects wood-nesting ant communities. Further, coffee intensification may significantly alter interactions between ants and their parasites, with possible implications for biological control in coffee agroecosystems. PMID:22546442

  6. The importance of quantifying propagule pressure to understand invasion: an examination of riparian forest invasibility.

    PubMed

    Eschtruth, Anne K; Battles, John J

    2011-06-01

    The widely held belief that riparian communities are highly invasible to exotic plants is based primarily on comparisons of the extent of invasion in riparian and upland communities. However, because differences in the extent of invasion may simply result from variation in propagule supply among recipient environments, true comparisons of invasibility require that both invasion success and propagule pressure are quantified. In this study, we quantified propagule pressure in order to compare the invasibility of riparian and upland forests and assess the accuracy of using a community's level of invasion as a surrogate for its invasibility. We found the extent of invasion to be a poor proxy for invasibility. The higher level of invasion in the studied riparian forests resulted from greater propagule availability rather than higher invasibility. Furthermore, failure to account for propagule pressure may confound our understanding of general invasion theories. Ecological theory suggests that species-rich communities should be less invasible. However, we found significant relationships between species diversity and invasion extent, but no diversity-invasibility relationship was detected for any species. Our results demonstrate that using a community's level of invasion as a surrogate for its invasibility can confound our understanding of invasibility and its determinants.

  7. Defensive chemicals of tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva and their toxicity to red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) has been reported as being able to displace Solenopsis invicta Buren, one of the most aggressive invasive ants in the world. Like S. invicta, N. fulva use chemical secretions in their defense/offense, which may contribute to their observed superior competition ability. In t...

  8. Quantitative analysis of the effects of the exotic Argentine ant on seed-dispersal mutualisms

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A.; Stuble, Katharine L.; Nuñez, Martin A.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2009-01-01

    Although it is increasingly clear that exotic invasive species affect seed-dispersal mutualisms, a synthetic examination of the effect of exotic invasive species on seed-dispersal mutualisms is lacking. Here, we review the impacts of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) on seed dispersal. We found that sites with L. humile had 92 per cent fewer native ant seed dispersers than did sites where L. humile was absent. In addition, L. humile did not replace native seed dispersers, as rates of seed removal and seedling establishment were all lower in the presence of L. humile than in its absence. We conclude that potential shifts in plant diversity and concomitant changes in ecosystem function may be a consequence of Argentine ant invasions, as well as invasions by other ant species. Because very few studies have examined the effects of non-ant invasive species on seed-dispersal mutualisms, the prevalence of disruption of seed-dispersal mutualisms by invasive species is unclear. PMID:19465575

  9. Ontogenetic variations in the diet of two invasive gobies, Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) and Ponticola kessleri (Günther, 1861), from the middle Danube (Slovakia) with notice on their potential impact on benthic invertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Števove, Barbora; Kováč, Vladimír

    2016-07-01

    In this study, ontogenetic variations in diet of invasive bighead goby Ponticola kessleri and round goby Neogobius melanostomus from the middle Danube were analysed. Index of stomach fullness, Fulton's condition factor, index of food importance, frequency of occurrence, biomass, electivity, and proportions of invasive organisms in their diet were examined. Changes in the diet during ontogeny of both species emphasise the differences in their trophic niches. Our results combined with literary data suggest that bighead goby may threaten small native benthic fish species as a predator (especially in the invasion front), whereas round goby can potentially impact native fish species of all ontogenetic phases by competing for food. Round goby appear to have strong impact on bivalves, especially in the invasion front. High consumption of invasive organisms by bighead goby may help the native macroinvertebrate community. Thus, in contrast to round goby, bighead goby does not seem to be a hot candidate for being a nuisance invader.

  10. Fatty Amines from Little Black Ants, Monomorium minimum, and Their Biological Activities Against Red Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Chen, Jian

    2015-08-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, are significant invasive pests. Certain native ant species can compete with S. invicta, such as the little black ant, Monomorium minimum. Defensive secretions may contribute to the competition capacity of native ants. The chemistry of ant defensive secretions in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to extensive research. The insecticidal alkaloids, 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolines have been reported to dominate the venom of M. minimum. In this study, analysis of defensive secretions of workers and queens of M. minimum revealed two primary amines, decylamine and dodecylamine. Neither amine has been reported previously from natural sources. Toxicity and digging suppression by these two amines against S. invicta were examined. Decylamine had higher toxicity to S. invicta workers than dodecylamine, a quicker knockdown effect, and suppressed the digging behavior of S. invicta workers at lower concentration. However, the amount of fatty amines in an individual ant was not enough to knockdown a fire ant or suppress its digging behavior. These amines most likely work in concert with other components in the chemical defense of M. minimum.

  11. The Training and Field Work Experiences of Community Health Workers conducting non-invasive, population-based screening for Cardiovascular Disease in Four Communities in Low and Middle-Income Settings

    PubMed Central

    Denman, Catalina A.; Montano, Carlos Mendoza; Gaziano, Thomas A.; Levitt, Naomi; Rivera-Andrade, Alvaro; Carrasco, Diana Munguía; Zulu, Jabu; Khanam, Masuma Akter; Puoane, Thandi

    2015-01-01

    Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is on the rise in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and is proving difficult to combat due to the emphasis on improving outcomes in maternal and child health and infectious diseases, against a backdrop of severe human resource and infrastructure constraints. Effective task-sharing from physicians or nurses to community health workers (CHWs) to conduct population-based screening for persons at risk, has the potential to mitigate the impact of CVD on vulnerable populations. CHWs in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Mexico, and South Africa were trained to conduct non-invasive population-based screening for persons at high risk for CVD. Objective (s) The objectives of this study were to quantitatively assess the performance of CHWs during training and to qualitatively capture their training and fieldwork experiences while conducting non-invasive screening for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in their communities. Methods Written tests were used to assess CHWs’ acquisition of content knowledge during training, and focus group discussions conducted to capture their training and fieldwork experiences. Results Training was effective at increasing the CHWs’ content knowledge of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and this knowledge was largely retained up to six months after the completion of field work. Common themes which need to be addressed when designing task sharing with CHWs in chronic diseases are identified, including language, respect, and compensation. The importance of having intimate knowledge of the community receiving services from design to implementation is underscored. Conclusions Effective training for screening for CVD in community settings should have a strong didactic core that is supplemented with culture-specific adaptations in the delivery of instruction. The incorporation of expert and intimate knowledge of the communities themselves is critical, from the design to implementation phases of training. Challenges such

  12. Fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Weber, N A

    1966-08-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are in reality unique fungus-culturing insects.There are several hundred species in some dozen genera, of which Acromyrmex and Atta are the conspicuous leaf-cutters. The center of their activities is the fungus garden, which is also the site of the queen and brood. The garden, in most species, is made from fresh green leaves or other vegetal material. The ants forage for this, forming distinct trails to the vegetation that is being harvested. The cut leaves or other substrate are brought into the nest and prepared for the fungus. Fresh leaves and flowers are cut into pieces a millimeter or two in diameter; the ants form them into a pulpy mass by pinching them with the mandibles and adding saliva. Anal droplets are deposited on the pieces, which are then forced into place in the garden. Planting of the fungus is accomplished by an ant's picking up tufts of the adjacent mycelium and dotting the surface of the new substrate with it. The combination of salivary and anal secretions, together with the constant care given by the ants, facilitates the growth of the ant fungus only, despite constant possibilities for contamination. When the ants are removed, alien fungi and other organisms flourish. A mature nest of Atta Sexdens may consist of 2000 chambers, some temporarily empty, some with refuse, and the remainder with fungus gardens. Thousands of kilograms of fresh leaves will have been used. A young laboratory colony of Atta cephalotes will use 1 kilogram of fresh leaves for one garden. The attines are the chief agents for introducing organic matter into the soil in tropical rain forests; this matter becomes the nucleus for a host of other organisms, including nematodes and arthropods, after it is discarded by the ants. One ant species cultures a yeast; all others grow a mycelium. In the higher species the mycelium forms clusters of inflated hyphae. Mycologists accept as valid two names for confirmed fruiting stages: Leucocoprinus ( or

  13. Alate susceptibility in ants

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  14. Alate susceptibility in ants.

    PubMed

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-11-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  15. Utilization of Anting-Anting (Acalypha indica) Leaves as Antibacterial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batubara, Irmanida; Wahyuni, Wulan Tri; Firdaus, Imam

    2016-01-01

    Anting-anting (Acalypha indica) plants is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. This research aims to utilize anting-anting as antibacterial toward Streptococcus mutans and degradation of biofilm on teeth. Anting-anting leaves were extracted by maceration technique using methanol, chloroform, and n-hexane. Antibacterial and biofilm degradation assays were performed using microdilution technique with 96 well. n-Hexane extracts of anting-anting leaves gave the best antibacterial potency with minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration value of 500 μg/mL and exhibited good biofilm degradation activity. Fraction of F3 obtained from fractionation of n-hexane's extract with column chromatography was a potential for degradation of biofilm with IC50 value of 56.82 μg/mL. Alkaloid was suggested as antibacterial and degradation of biofilm in the active fraction.

  16. Irresistible ants: exposure to novel toxic prey increases consumption over multiple temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Herr, Mark W; Robbins, Travis R; Centi, Alan; Thawley, Christopher J; Langkilde, Tracy

    2016-07-01

    As species become increasingly exposed to novel challenges, it is critical to understand how evolutionary (i.e., generational) and plastic (i.e., within lifetime) responses work together to determine a species' fate or predict its distribution. The introduction of non-native species imposes novel pressures on the native species that they encounter. Understanding how native species exposed to toxic or distasteful invaders change their feeding behavior can provide insight into their ability to cope with these novel threats as well as broader questions about the evolution of this behavior. We demonstrated that native eastern fence lizards do not avoid consuming invasive fire ants following repeated exposure to this toxic prey. Rather fence lizards increased their consumption of these ants following exposure on three different temporal scales. Lizards ate more fire ants when they were exposed to this toxic prey over successive days. Lizards consumed more fire ants if they had been exposed to fire ants as juveniles 6 months earlier. Finally, lizards from populations exposed to fire ants over multiple generations consumed more fire ants than those from fire ant-free areas. These results suggest that the potentially lethal consumption of fire ants may carry benefits resulting in selection for this behavior, and learning that persists long after initial exposure. Future research on the response of native predators to venomous prey over multiple temporal scales will be valuable in determining the long-term effects of invasion by these novel threats. PMID:27000944

  17. Species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in disturbed landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2009-01-01

    Ants are used as indicators of environmental change in disturbed landscapes, often without adequate understanding of their response to disturbance. Ant communities in the southeastern United States displayed a hump-backed species richness curve against an index of landscape disturbance. Forty sites at Fort Benning, in west-central Georgia, covered a spectrum of habitat disturbance (military training and fire) in upland forest. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and warmer, more compact soils with shallower A-horizons. We sampled ground-dwelling ants with pitfall traps, and measured 15 habitat variables related to vegetation and soil. Ant species richness was greatest with a relative disturbance of 43%, but equitability was greatest with no disturbance. Ant abundance was greatest with a relative disturbance of 85%. High species richness at intermediate disturbance was associated with greater within-site spatial heterogeneity. Species richness was also associated with intermediate values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a correlate of net primary productivity (NPP). Available NPP (the product of NDVI and the fraction of days that soil temperature exceeded 25 ??C), however, was positively correlated with species richness, though not with ant abundance. Species richness was unrelated to soil texture, total ground cover, and fire frequency. Ant species richness and equitability are potential state indicators of the soil arthropod community. Moreover, equitability can be used to monitor ecosystem change. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  18. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    Worldwide, ants are a powerful ecological force, and they appear to be dominant components of animal communities of many tropical and temperate ecosystems in terms of biomass and numbers of individuals (Bluthgen et al. 2000). For example, ants comprise up to 94% of arthropod individuals in fogging samples taken from diverse lowland tropical rainforest canopies, and 86% of the biomass (Davidson et al. 2003). The majority of these ant species and individuals obtain carbohydrates either from extrafloral nectaries or from sap-feeding Hemiptera that pass carbohydrate-rich “honeydew” to attending ants while concentrating nitrogen (N) from N-poor plant sap (Davidson et al. 2003). Honeydew and nectar represent key resources for arboreal ant species, although most ant species are at least partly carnivorous or scavengers (Bluthgen et al. 2004). In contrast to most of the terrestrial world, the biotas of many Pacific islands evolved without ants. Whereas endemic ant species are found in New Zealand (ca. 10 spp.), Tonga (ca. 10 spp.), and Samoa (ca. 12 spp.), other islands of Polynesia and parts of Micronesia likely lack native ants (Wilson and Taylor 1967, Wetterer 2002, Wetterer and Vargo 2003). About 20 Indo-Australian and western Pacific ant species range to the east and north of Samoa, but it is unclear how many of these were transported there by humans at some time (Wilson and Taylor 1967). Most of the remainder of the ant species currently found on Pacific islands are widespread species that fall in the category of “tramp species,” dispersed by recent human commerce and generally closely tied to human activity and urban areas (Wilson and Taylor 1967, McGlynn 1999). In Pacific island situations, some of these tramp ant species are able to thrive beyond areas of human activity. Relatively few ant species have been successful invaders of native communities on continents, and these include most of the species that pose the greatest problems for Pacific islands

  19. The Plant Communities and Environmental Gradients of Pitcairn Island: The Significance of Invasive Species and the Need for Conservation Management

    PubMed Central

    KINGSTON, N.; WALDREN, S.

    2003-01-01

    Quantitative surveys of the vegetation of south‐east Polynesian Islands are rarely undertaken owing to time and logistical restrictions; however they are fundamental in determining the conservation status of fragile island ecosystems. The aim of the research was to document quantitatively the vegetation of Pitcairn Island by investigating whether clearly definable plant communities existed on the island, and the underlying environmental gradients influencing these communities. Initially, 10 × 10 m quadrats were taken from all areas of the island, with environmental parameters recorded for each quadrat. The vegetation was then mapped from high altitude vantage points. Two‐way indicator species analysis was used to identify distinct plant communities, and canonical correspondence analysis was used to determine the underlying environmental gradients. The vegetation consists of 14 plant communities: four coastal, six forest, two fernland and two scrub communities. Large areas are covered by non‐native scrub vegetation, and by monospecific Syzygium jambos (rose‐apple) plantations. Less than 30 % of the island is covered by native forest, and these areas are limited to remote valleys. Fernlands also cover large areas, including both eroding areas and ridge tops. Coastal vegetation comprises rock and cliff communities with limited strand vegetation. The major environmental gradient affecting the composition of the plant communities is altitude, but anthropogenic influences also have a large effect, owing to forest clearance and introduced species. The light environment is affected by the canopy species, and determines what ground flora can develop. Identification of distinct plant communities has allowed for a system of nature reserves to be suggested, which conserve all of these plant communities and a significant proportion of the threatened plant species. PMID:12824069

  20. The Ants of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandau, E.

    2014-12-01

    The core location of my research project was the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The forest is located along the east coast of Kenya and belongs to the coastal forest zone of eastern Africa. The forest is considered a biodiversity hotspot, having many species being endemic to this habitat. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is not a rainforest, like the Kakamega Forest in western Kenya, but a tropical dry forest. The objective of my research was to create a general checklist of the ant species collected in teh Arabuko Sokoke Forest in 2009. The general checklist of ant species will be used to document the differences between the three different forest habitat types (Cynometra, Brachystegia and mixed forest) and ant communities found within the forest, as well as the fauna found in those locations. The ants were collected using the leaf litter extraction method and were then mounted and idenified. The results from my research were that out of 73 specimens, there were 13 genera and 24 different species. Four of the 24 species have not been recorded for this forest before and one of the Tetramorium is likely to be a new species. The results also showed that the species diversity on the two transects are almost the same. There was very low overlap between the two transects as well: there were two shared species between the two different forest habitat types. For future work, there are still many undiscovered ant species in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. In order to get a more complete faunal overview, more samples have to be collected from different par