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Sample records for invasive ant communities

  1. Competitive assembly of South Pacific invasive ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Lester, Philip J; Abbott, Kirsti L; Sarty, Megan; Burns, KC

    2009-01-01

    Background The relative importance of chance and determinism in structuring ecological communities has been debated for nearly a century. Evidence for determinism or assembly rules is often evaluated with null models that randomize the occurrence of species in particular locales. However, analyses of the presence or absence of species ignores the potential influence of species abundances, which have long been considered of major importance on community structure. Here, we test for community assembly rules in ant communities on small islands of the Tokelau archipelago using both presence-absence and abundance data. We conducted three sets of analyses on two spatial scales using three years of sampling data from 39 plots on 11 islands. Results First, traditional null model tests showed support for negative species co-occurrence patterns among plots within islands, but not among islands. A plausible explanation for this result is that analyses at larger spatial scales merge heterogeneous habitats that have considerable effects on species occurrences. Second, analyses of ant abundances showed that samples with high ant abundances had fewer species than expected by chance, both within and among islands. One ant species, the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes, appeared to have a particularly strong effect on community structure correlated with its abundance. Third, abundances of most ant species were inversely correlated with the abundances of all other ants at both spatial scales. This result is consistent with competition theory, which predicts species distributions are affected by diffuse competition with suites of co-occurring species. Conclusion Our results support a pluralistic explanation for ant species abundances and assembly. Both stochastic and deterministic processes interact to determine ant community assembly, though abundance patterns clearly drive the deterministic patterns in this community. These deterministic patterns were observed at two

  2. Compositional and functional stability of arthropod communities in the face of ant invasions.

    PubMed

    Krushelnycky, Paul D; Gillespie, Rosemary G

    2008-09-01

    There is a general consensus that the diversity of a biotic community can have an influence on its stability, but the strength, ubiquity, and relative importance of this effect is less clear. In the context of biological invasions, diversity has usually been studied in terms of its effect on a community's invasibility, but diversity may also influence stability by affecting the magnitude of compositional or functional changes experienced by a community upon invasion. We examined the impacts of invasive ants on arthropod communities at five natural area sites in the Hawaiian Islands, and assessed whether differences among sites in community diversity and density variables were related to measures of stability. Ant invasion was usually associated with significant changes in overall community composition, as measured by Bray-Curtis distances, particularly among endemic subsets of the communities. Changes in mean species richness were also strong at three of the five sites. Among sites, diversity was negatively related to stability as measured by resistance to overall compositional change, but this effect could not be separated from the strong negative effect of invasive ant density on compositional stability. When compositional stability was measured as proportional change in richness, the best predictor of stability among endemic community subsets was endemic richness, with richer communities losing proportionately more species than species-poor communities. This effect was highly significant even after controlling for differences in invasive ant density and suggested that communities that had already lost many endemic species were resistant to further species loss upon ant invasion, while more intact communities remained vulnerable to species loss. Communities underwent strong but idiosyncratic functional shifts in association with ant invasion, both in terms of trophic structure and total arthropod biomass. There were no apparent relationships, however, between

  3. Symbiotic bacterial communities in ants are modified by invasion pathway bottlenecks and alter host behavior.

    PubMed

    Lester, Philip J; Sébastien, Alexandra; Suarez, Andrew V; Barbieri, Rafael F; Gruber, Monica A M

    2017-03-01

    Biological invasions are a threat to global biodiversity and provide unique opportunities to study ecological processes. Population bottlenecks are a common feature of biological invasions and the severity of these bottlenecks is likely to be compounded as an invasive species spreads from initial invasion sites to additional locations. Despite extensive work on the genetic consequences of bottlenecks, we know little about how they influence microbial communities of the invaders themselves. Due to serial bottlenecks, invasive species may lose microbial symbionts including pathogenic taxa (the enemy release hypothesis) and/or may accumulate natural enemies with increasing time after invasion (the pathogen accumulation and invasive decline hypothesis). We tested these alternate hypotheses by surveying bacterial communities of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile). We found evidence for serial symbiont bottlenecks: the bacterial community richness declined over the invasion pathway from Argentina to New Zealand. The abundance of some genera, such as Lactobacillus, also significantly declined over the invasion pathway. Argentine ants from populations in the United States shared the most genera with ants from their native range in Argentina, while New Zealand shared the least (120 vs. 57, respectively). Nine genera were present in all sites around the globe possibly indicating a core group of obligate microbes. In accordance with the pathogen accumulation and invasive decline hypothesis, Argentine ants acquired genera unique to each specific invaded country. The United States had the most unique genera, though even within New Zealand these ants acquired symbionts. In addition to our biogeographic sampling, we administered antibiotics to Argentine ants to determine if changes in the micro-symbiont community could influence behavior and survival in interspecific interactions. Treatment with the antibiotics spectinomycin and kanamycin only slightly increased Argentine ant

  4. 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.

  5. Density-Dependent Effects of an Invasive Ant on a Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Community.

    PubMed

    Cooling, M; Sim, D A; Lester, P J

    2015-02-01

    It is frequently assumed that an invasive species that is ecologically or economically damaging in one region, will typically be so in other environments. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) is listed among the world's worst invaders. It commonly displaces resident ant species where it occurs at high population densities, and may also reduce densities of other ground-dwelling arthropods. We investigated the effect of varying Argentine ant abundance on resident ant and nonant arthropod species richness and abundance in seven cities across its range in New Zealand. Pitfall traps were used to compare an invaded and uninvaded site in each city. Invaded sites were selected based on natural varying abundance of Argentine ant populations. Argentine ant density had a significant negative effect on epigaeic ant abundance and species richness, but hypogaeic ant abundance and species richness was unaffected. We observed a significant decrease in Diplopoda abundance with increasing Argentine ant abundance, while Coleoptera abundance increased. The effect on Amphipoda and Isopoda depended strongly on climate. The severity of the impact on negatively affected taxa was reduced in areas where Argentine ant densities were low. Surprisingly, Argentine ants had no effect on the abundance of the other arthropod taxa examined. Morphospecies richness for all nonant arthropod taxa was unaffected by Argentine ant abundance. Species that are established as invasive in one location therefore cannot be assumed to be invasive in other locations based on presence alone. Appropriate management decisions should reflect this knowledge.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  8. Raves & rants about invasive crazy ants

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  9. Native predators living in invaded areas: responses of terrestrial amphibian species to an Argentine ant invasion.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Blanco, Paloma; Caut, Stephane; Cerdá, Xim; Angulo, Elena

    2017-08-22

    Predator-prey interactions play a key role in the success and impacts of invasive species. However, the effects of invasive preys on native predators have been poorly studied. Here, we first reviewed hypotheses describing potential relationships between native predators and invasive preys. Second, we examined how an invasive prey, the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), affected a native terrestrial amphibian community. In the field, we looked at the structure of the amphibian community in invaded versus uninvaded areas and characterized amphibian trophic ecology. The amphibian community sampled seemed to show a species-dependent response in abundance to invasion: adults of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), the species demonstrating the highest degree of ant specialization, were less abundant in invaded areas. Although available ant biomass was significantly greater in invaded than in uninvaded areas (only Argentine ants occurred in the former), amphibians consumed relatively fewer ants in invaded areas. In the lab, we quantified amphibian consumption of Argentine ants versus native ants and assessed whether consumption patterns could have been influenced by prior exposure to the invader. The lab experiments corroborated the field results: amphibians preferred native ants over Argentine ants, and prior exposure did not influence consumption. Differences in preference explained why amphibians consumed fewer Argentine ants in spite of their greater relative availability; they might also explain why the most ant-specialized amphibians seemed to avoid invaded areas. Our results suggest the importance to account for predator feeding capacities and dietary ranges to understand the effects of invasive species at higher trophic levels.

  10. Invasive ants influence native lizard populations

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta; hereafter RIFA) is an invasive predator found on four continents, including South America, North America, Australia, and Asia. RIFAs are implicated in the decline of native invertebrates and vertebrates throughout their invaded range. We used the easter...

  11. Exploitation and interference competition between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant species.

    PubMed

    Human, Kathleen G; Gordon, Deborah M

    1996-02-01

    Interactions between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant species were studied in a 450-ha biological reserve in northern California. Along the edges of the invasion, the presence of Argentine ants significantly reduced the foraging success of native ant species, and vice versa. Argentine ants were consistently better than native ants at exploiting food sources: Argentine ants found and recruited to bait more consistently and in higher numbers than native ant species, and they foraged for longer periods throughout the day. Native ants and Argentine ants frequently fought when they recruited to the same bait, and native ant species were displaced from bait during 60% of these encounters. In introduction experiments, Argentine ants interfered with the foraging of native ant species, and prevented the establishment of new colonies of native ant species by preying upon winged native ant queens. The Argentine ants' range within the preserve expanded by 12 ha between May 1993 and May 1994, and 13 between September 1993 and September 1994, with a corresponding reduction of the range of native ant species. Although some native ants persist locally at the edges of the invasion of Argentine ants, most eventually disappear from invaded areas. Both interference and exploitation competition appear to be important in the displacement of native ant species from areas invaded by Argentine ants.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. New mutualism for old: indirect disruption and direct facilitation of seed dispersal following Argentine ant invasion.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; O'Dowd, Dennis J

    2009-01-01

    The indirect effects of biological invasions on native communities are poorly understood. Disruption of native ant communities following invasion by the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is widely reported to lead indirectly to the near complete collapse of seed dispersal services. In coastal scrub in southeastern Australia, we examined seed dispersal and handling of two native and two invasive alien plant species at Argentine ant-invaded or -uninvaded sites. The Argentine ant virtually eliminates the native keystone disperser Rhytidoponera victoriae, but seed dispersal did not collapse following invasion. Indeed, Argentine ants directly accounted for 92% of all ant-seed interactions and sustained overall seed dispersal rates. Nevertheless, dispersal quantity and quality among seed species differed between Argentine ant-invaded and -uninvaded sites. Argentine ants removed significantly fewer native Acacia retinodes seeds, but significantly more small seeds of invasive Polygala myrtifolia than did native ants at uninvaded sites. They also handled significantly more large seeds of A. sophorae, but rarely moved them >5 cm, instead recruiting en masse, consuming elaiosomes piecemeal and burying seeds in situ. In contrast, Argentine ants transported and interred P. myrtifolia seeds in their shallow nests. Experiments with artificial diaspores that varied in diaspore and elaiosome masses, but kept seed morphology and elaiosome quality constant, showed that removal by L. humile depended on the interaction of seed size and percentage elaiosome reward. Small diaspores were frequently taken, independent of high or low elaiosome reward, but large artificial diaspores with high reward instead elicited mass recruitment by Argentine ants and were rarely moved. Thus, Argentine ants appear to favour some diaspore types and reject others based largely on diaspore size and percentage reward. Such variability in response indirectly reduces native seed dispersal and can directly

  16. 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.

  17. Biotic and abiotic controls of Argentine ant invasion success at local and landscape scales.

    PubMed

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

    2007-12-01

    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

  18. 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

  19. Argentine ant invasion associated with loblolly pines in the southeastern United States: minimal impacts but seasonally sustained.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2010-08-01

    Invasive ants are notorious for directly displacing native ant species. Although such impacts are associated with Argentine ant invasions (Linepithema humile) worldwide, impacts within natural habitat are less widely reported, particularly those affecting arboreal ant communities. Argentine ants were detected in North Carolina mixed pine-hardwood forest for the first time but were localized on and around loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), probably because of association with honeydew-producing Hemiptera. We explored the potential impacts of L. humile on arboreal and ground-foraging native ant species by comparing interspersed loblolly pines invaded and uninvaded by Argentine ants. Impacts on native ants were assessed monthly over 1 yr by counting ants in foraging trails on pine trunks and in surrounding plots using a concentric arrangement of pitfall traps at 1, 2, and 3 m from the base of each tree. Of floristics and habitat variables, higher soil moisture in invaded plots was the only difference between plot types, increasing confidence that any ant community differences were caused by Argentine ants. Overall patterns of impact were weak. Composition differed significantly between Argentine ant invaded and uninvaded trunks and pitfalls but was driven only by the presence of Argentine ants rather than any resulting compositional change in native ant species. Native ant abundance and richness were similarly unaffected by L. humile. However, the abundance of individual ant species was more variable. Although numbers of the arboreal Crematogaster ashmeadi (Myrmicinae) declined on and around invaded pines, epigeic Aphaenogaster rudis (Myrmicinae) remained the most abundant species in all plots. Argentine ant densities peaked in late summer and fall, therefore overlapping with most native ants. Unexpected was their continued presence during even the coldest months. We provide evidence that Argentine ants can invade and persist in native North Carolina forests, probably

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Invasive fire ants reduce reproductive success and alter the reproductive strategies of a native vertebrate insectivore.

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24266038

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22130172

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Invasive ants compete with and modify the trophic ecology of hermit crabs on tropical islands.

    PubMed

    McNatty, Alice; Abbott, Kirsti L; Lester, Philip J

    2009-05-01

    Invasive species can dramatically alter trophic interactions. Predation is the predominant trophic interaction generally considered to be responsible for ecological change after invasion. In contrast, how frequently competition from invasive species contributes to the decline of native species remains controversial. Here, we demonstrate how the trophic ecology of the remote atoll nation of Tokelau is changing due to competition between invasive ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) and native terrestrial hermit crabs (Coenobita spp.) for carrion. A significant negative correlation was observed between A. gracilipes and hermit crab abundance. On islands with A. gracilipes, crabs were generally restricted to the periphery of invaded islands. Very few hermit crabs were found in central areas of these islands where A. gracilipes abundances were highest. Ant exclusion experiments demonstrated that changes in the abundance and distribution of hermit crabs on Tokelau are a result of competition. The ants did not kill the hermit crabs. Rather, when highly abundant, A. gracilipes attacked crabs by spraying acid and drove crabs away from carrion resources. Analysis of naturally occurring N and C isotopes suggests that the ants are effectively lowering the trophic level of crabs. According to delta(15) N values, hermit crabs have a relatively high trophic level on islands where A. gracilipes have not invaded. In contrast, where these ants have invaded we observed a significant decrease in delta(15) N for all crab species. This result concurs with our experiment in suggesting long-term exclusion from carrion resources, driving co-occurring crabs towards a more herbivorous diet. Changes in hermit crab abundance or distribution may have major ramifications for the stability of plant communities. Because A. gracilipes have invaded many tropical islands where the predominant scavengers are hermit crabs, we consider that their competitive effects are likely to be more prominent in

  18. 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

  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. Draft genome of the globally widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile).

    PubMed

    Smith, Christopher D; Zimin, Aleksey; Holt, Carson; Abouheif, Ehab; Benton, Richard; Cash, Elizabeth; Croset, Vincent; Currie, Cameron R; Elhaik, Eran; Elsik, Christine G; Fave, Marie-Julie; Fernandes, Vilaiwan; Gadau, Jürgen; Gibson, Joshua D; Graur, Dan; Grubbs, Kirk J; Hagen, Darren E; Helmkampf, Martin; Holley, Jo-Anne; Hu, Hao; Viniegra, Ana Sofia Ibarraran; Johnson, Brian R; Johnson, Reed M; Khila, Abderrahman; Kim, Jay W; Laird, Joseph; Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Moeller, Joseph A; Muñoz-Torres, Monica C; Murphy, Marguerite C; Nakamura, Rin; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick P; Placek, Jennifer E; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T; Robertson, Hugh M; Smith, Chris R; Suarez, Andrew V; Suen, Garret; Suhr, Elissa L; Tao, Shu; Torres, Candice W; van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Viljakainen, Lumi; Walden, Kimberly K O; Wild, Alexander L; Yandell, Mark; Yorke, James A; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2011-04-05

    Ants are some of the most abundant and familiar animals on Earth, and they play vital roles in most terrestrial ecosystems. Although all ants are eusocial, and display a variety of complex and fascinating behaviors, few genomic resources exist for them. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of a particularly widespread and well-studied species, the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), which was accomplished using a combination of 454 (Roche) and Illumina sequencing and community-based funding rather than federal grant support. Manual annotation of >1,000 genes from a variety of different gene families and functional classes reveals unique features of the Argentine ant's biology, as well as similarities to Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis. Distinctive features of the Argentine ant genome include remarkable expansions of gustatory (116 genes) and odorant receptors (367 genes), an abundance of cytochrome P450 genes (>110), lineage-specific expansions of yellow/major royal jelly proteins and desaturases, and complete CpG DNA methylation and RNAi toolkits. The Argentine ant genome contains fewer immune genes than Drosophila and Tribolium, which may reflect the prominent role played by behavioral and chemical suppression of pathogens. Analysis of the ratio of observed to expected CpG nucleotides for genes in the reproductive development and apoptosis pathways suggests higher levels of methylation than in the genome overall. The resources provided by this genome sequence will offer an abundance of tools for researchers seeking to illuminate the fascinating biology of this emerging model organism.

  1. Draft genome of the globally widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Christopher D.; Zimin, Aleksey; Holt, Carson; Abouheif, Ehab; Benton, Richard; Cash, Elizabeth; Croset, Vincent; Currie, Cameron R.; Elhaik, Eran; Elsik, Christine G.; Fave, Marie-Julie; Fernandes, Vilaiwan; Gadau, Jürgen; Gibson, Joshua D.; Graur, Dan; Grubbs, Kirk J.; Hagen, Darren E.; Helmkampf, Martin; Holley, Jo-Anne; Hu, Hao; Viniegra, Ana Sofia Ibarraran; Johnson, Brian R.; Johnson, Reed M.; Khila, Abderrahman; Kim, Jay W.; Laird, Joseph; Mathis, Kaitlyn A.; Moeller, Joseph A.; Muñoz-Torres, Monica C.; Murphy, Marguerite C.; Nakamura, Rin; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick P.; Placek, Jennifer E.; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T.; Robertson, Hugh M.; Suarez, Andrew V.; Suen, Garret; Suhr, Elissa L.; Tao, Shu; Torres, Candice W.; van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Viljakainen, Lumi; Walden, Kimberly K. O.; Wild, Alexander L.; Yandell, Mark; Yorke, James A.; Tsutsui, Neil D.

    2011-01-01

    Ants are some of the most abundant and familiar animals on Earth, and they play vital roles in most terrestrial ecosystems. Although all ants are eusocial, and display a variety of complex and fascinating behaviors, few genomic resources exist for them. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of a particularly widespread and well-studied species, the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), which was accomplished using a combination of 454 (Roche) and Illumina sequencing and community-based funding rather than federal grant support. Manual annotation of >1,000 genes from a variety of different gene families and functional classes reveals unique features of the Argentine ant's biology, as well as similarities to Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis. Distinctive features of the Argentine ant genome include remarkable expansions of gustatory (116 genes) and odorant receptors (367 genes), an abundance of cytochrome P450 genes (>110), lineage-specific expansions of yellow/major royal jelly proteins and desaturases, and complete CpG DNA methylation and RNAi toolkits. The Argentine ant genome contains fewer immune genes than Drosophila and Tribolium, which may reflect the prominent role played by behavioral and chemical suppression of pathogens. Analysis of the ratio of observed to expected CpG nucleotides for genes in the reproductive development and apoptosis pathways suggests higher levels of methylation than in the genome overall. The resources provided by this genome sequence will offer an abundance of tools for researchers seeking to illuminate the fascinating biology of this emerging model organism. PMID:21282631

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. An invasive ant species able to counterattack marabunta raids.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    In the Neotropics where it was introduced, the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala counterattacked raids by the army ants Eciton burchellii or E. hamatum. The Eciton workers that returned to their bivouac were attacked and spread-eagled and most of them killed by their outgoing colony mates. Little by little the zone where returning and outgoing Eciton workers encountered one another moved away from the Pheidole nest which was no longer attacked, so that most of the colony was spared. Using a water-based technique rounded out by bioassays, we show that Pheidole compounds were transferred onto the Eciton cuticle during the counterattacks, so that outgoing workers do not recognize returning colony mates, likely perceived as potential prey. Because P. megacephala is an introduced African species, this kind of protection, which cannot be the result of coevolutive processes, corresponds to a kind of by-product due to its aggressiveness during colony defence.

  5. 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.

  6. Field evaluations of the efficacy of Distance Plus on invasive ant species in northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Webb, Garry A; Hoffmann, Benjamin D

    2013-08-01

    The efficacy of Distance Plus Ant Bait, containing the insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen, was tested in the field against two invasive ant species in northern Australia: African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala (F.)) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes (Fr. Smith)). Results were also gained for a third pest species, Singapore ant (Monomorium destructor (Jerdon)), from one trial focused primarily on P. megacephala. Five studies were conducted throughout northern Australia, each with different protocols, but common to all was the broad-scale dispersal of Distance Plus, coupled with long-term monitoring of ant population levels. Additionally, a laboratory trial was conducted to assess if there was a direct toxic effect by the bait on A. gracilipes workers, and ant community data were collected at some sites in the A. gracilipes trial to assess nontarget impacts and subsequent ecological recovery. All three species were greatly affected by the treatments. The abundance of P. megacephala declined dramatically in all trials, and by the final assessment for each study, very few ants remained, with those remaining being attributable to edge effects from neighboring untreated properties. At both sites that it occurred, M. destructor was initially at least codominant with P. megacephala, but by the final assessment, only three M. destructor individuals were present at one lure at one site, and only a single individual at the other site. Abundance of A. gracilipes fell, on average, to 31% of control levels by 91 d and then slowly recovered, with subsequent treatments only providing slightly greater control. No direct toxic effect on workers was found in the laboratory trial, indicating that population declines of A. gracilipes were typical bait-related declines resulting from reduced worker replacement. Nontarget impacts of the bait could not be distinguished from the negative competitive impacts ofA. gracilipes, but there was a noticeable absence of some key

  7. When invasive ants meet: effects of outbreeding on queen performance in the tramp ant Cardiocondyla itsukii.

    PubMed

    Heinze, Jürgen; Frohschammer, Sabine; Bernadou, Abel

    2017-08-18

    Most disturbed habitats in the tropics and subtropics harbor numerous species of invasive ants, and occasionally the same species has been introduced repeatedly from multiple geographical sources. We examined how experimental crossbreeding between sexuals from different populations affects the fitness of queens of the tramp ant Cardiocondyla itsukii, which is widely distributed in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Eggs laid by queens that mated with nestmate males had a higher hatching rate than eggs laid by queens mated to males from neighboring (Hawaii x Kauai) or distant introduced populations (Hawaii / Kauai x Okinawa). Furthermore, inbreeding queens had a longer lifespan and produced a less female-biased offspring sex ratio than queens from allopatric mating. This suggests that the genetic divergence between different source populations may already be so large that in case of multiple invasions eventual crossbreeding might negatively affect the fitness of tramp ants. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  8. 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. PMID:27819044

  9. 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

  10. Chemical defense by the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) against the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile).

    PubMed

    Sorrells, Trevor R; Kuritzky, Leah Y; Kauhanen, Peter G; Fitzgerald, Katherine; Sturgis, Shelby J; Chen, Jimmy; Dijamco, Cheri A; Basurto, Kimberly N; Gordon, Deborah M

    2011-04-19

    The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufour's gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile.

  11. Chemical Defense by the Native Winter Ant (Prenolepis imparis) against the Invasive Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)

    PubMed Central

    Kauhanen, Peter G.; Fitzgerald, Katherine; Sturgis, Shelby J.; Chen, Jimmy; Dijamco, Cheri A.; Basurto, Kimberly N.; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2011-01-01

    The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufour's gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile. PMID:21526231

  12. Long-term dynamics of the distribution of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant taxa in northern California.

    PubMed

    Sanders, Nathan J; Barton, Kasey E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2001-03-01

    Invasive species, where successful, can devastate native communities. We studied the dynamics of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, for 7 years in Jasper Ridge, a biological preserve in northern California. We monitored the distributions at the hectare scale of native ant taxa and L. humile in the spring and fall from 1993 to 1999. We also studied the invasion dynamics at a finer resolution by searching for ants in 1-m(2) plots. Our results are similar at both scales. The distributions of several native species are not random with regard to L. humile; the distributions of several epigeic species with similar habitat affinities overlap much less frequently than expected with the distribution of L. humile. We found that season had a significant influence on the distributions of L. humile and several native taxa. Over the 7-year period, L. humile has increased its range size in Jasper Ridge largely at the expense of native taxa, but there is seasonal and yearly variation in this rate of increase. Studies of invasions in progress which sample across seasons and years may help to predict the spread and effects of invasive species.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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.

  19. By their own devices: invasive Argentine ants have shifted diet without clear aid from symbiotic microbes.

    PubMed

    Hu, Yi; Holway, David A; Łukasik, Piotr; Chau, Linh; Kay, Adam D; LeBrun, Edward G; Miller, Katie A; Sanders, Jon G; Suarez, Andrew V; Russell, Jacob A

    2017-03-01

    The functions and compositions of symbiotic bacterial communities often correlate with host ecology. Yet cause-effect relationships and the order of symbiont vs. host change remain unclear in the face of ancient symbioses and conserved host ecology. Several groups of ants exemplify this challenge, as their low-nitrogen diets and specialized symbioses appear conserved and ancient. To address whether nitrogen-provisioning symbionts might be important in the early stages of ant trophic shifts, we studied bacteria from the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile - an invasive species that has transitioned towards greater consumption of sugar-rich, nitrogen-poor foods in parts of its introduced range. Bacteria were present at low densities in most L. humile workers, and among those yielding quality 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing data, we found just three symbionts to be common and dominant. Two, a Lactobacillus and an Acetobacteraceae species, were shared between native and introduced populations. The other, a Rickettsia, was found only in two introduced supercolonies. Across an eight-year period of trophic reduction in one introduced population, we found no change in symbionts, arguing against a relationship between natural dietary change and microbiome composition. Overall, our findings thus argue against major changes in symbiotic bacteria in association with the invasion and trophic shift of L. humile. In addition, genome content from close relatives of the identified symbionts suggests that just one can synthesize most essential amino acids; this bacterium was only modestly abundant in introduced populations, providing little support for a major role of nitrogen-provisioning symbioses in Argentine ant's dietary shift.

  20. 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)

  1. 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)

  2. Evidence of niche shift and global invasion potential of the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J

    2011-10-23

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Are Invasive Species Stressful? The Glucocorticoid Profile of Native Lizards Exposed to Invasive Fire Ants Depends on the Context.

    PubMed

    Graham, Sean P; Freidenfelds, Nicole A; Thawley, Christopher J; Robbins, Travis R; Langkilde, Tracy

    Invasive species represent a substantial threat to native species worldwide. Research on the impacts of invasive species on wild living vertebrates has focused primarily on population-level effects. The sublethal, individual-level effects of invaders may be equally important but are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of invasive fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) on the physiological stress response of a native lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) within two experimental contexts: directly exposing lizards to a fire ant attack and housing lizards with fire ants in seminatural field enclosures. Lizards directly exposed to brief attack by fire ants had elevated concentrations of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT), suggesting that these encounters can be physiologically stressful. However, lizards exposed for longer periods to fire ants in field enclosures had lower concentrations of CORT. This may indicate that the combined effects of confinement and fire ant exposure have pushed lizards into allostatic overload. However, lizards from fire ant enclosures appeared to have intact negative feedback controls of the stress response, evidenced by functioning adrenocorticotropic hormone responsiveness and lack of suppression of innate immunity (plasma bactericidal capacity). We review previous studies examining the stress response of wild vertebrates to various anthropogenic stressors and discuss how these-in combination with our results-underscore the importance of considering context (the length, frequency, magnitude, and types of threat) when assessing these impacts.

  10. Invasive Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) do not replace native ants as seed dispersers of Dendromecon rigida (Papaveraceae) in California, USA.

    PubMed

    Carney, Shanna E; Byerley, M Brooke; Holway, David A

    2003-05-01

    We investigated the indirect effects of Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) invasions on patterns of seed dispersal and predation in the myrmecochorous tree poppy Dendromecon rigida in coastal San Diego County, California. Significantly more seeds were removed from ant-accessible seed stations at sites numerically dominated by a common harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex subnitidus), a native disperser of these seeds and a species sensitive to displacement by L. humile, than from those stations at sites where L. humile was in the majority. Predation of seeds was high, but variable, across sites, suggesting that reduced dispersal could result in increased seed predation in some habitats. Removal of elaiosomes did not affect the frequency with which predators removed seeds, but ants removed significantly more seeds with elaiosomes than without. In behavior trials, only P. subnitidus was able to carry seeds of Dendromecon rigida effectively. L. humile and a small native ant species, Dorymyrmex insanus, while displaying interest in the diaspores, were seldom able to carry whole seeds and, when they did, only carried them a few centimeters. Displacement of native harvester ants by L. humile appears to decrease the dispersal of Dendromecon rigida seeds and may be increasing loss of seeds due to predation.

  11. Trophic ecology of invasive Argentine ants in their native and introduced ranges

    PubMed Central

    Tillberg, Chadwick V.; Holway, David A.; LeBrun, Edward G.; Suarez, Andrew V.

    2007-01-01

    Although the ecological effects of invasions often become obvious soon after introduced species become established, more gradual effects may take years to manifest and can thus require long-term data for quantification. We analyzed an 8-year record of stable isotope data on Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) from southern California to infer how the trophic position of this widespread invasive species changes over time as native ant species are displaced. We couple this longitudinal analysis with a biregional comparison of stable isotope data (δ15N) on ants from Argentina (native range) and California (introduced range) to quantify (i) how the trophic position of L. humile differs between native and introduced populations, and (ii) how relative trophic position as estimated by δ15N values of Argentine ants compare with those of other ants at the same site. Both long-term and biregional comparisons indicate that the Argentine ant's relative trophic position is reduced at sites with a longer history of occupation. Over the course of 8 years, the relative trophic position of L. humile remained high at the leading edge of an invasion front but declined, on average, behind the front as native ants disappeared. Relative to native populations, where L. humile is among the most carnivorous of ants, Argentine ants from California occupied lower trophic positions. These results support the hypothesis that Argentine ants shift their diet after establishment as a result of resource depletion and increasing reliance on plant-based resources, especially honeydew-producing Hemiptera. Our results demonstrate the value of long-term and biregional data in uncovering ecological effects of invasions. PMID:18093925

  12. Trophic ecology of invasive Argentine ants in their native and introduced ranges.

    PubMed

    Tillberg, Chadwick V; Holway, David A; Lebrun, Edward G; Suarez, Andrew V

    2007-12-26

    Although the ecological effects of invasions often become obvious soon after introduced species become established, more gradual effects may take years to manifest and can thus require long-term data for quantification. We analyzed an 8-year record of stable isotope data on Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) from southern California to infer how the trophic position of this widespread invasive species changes over time as native ant species are displaced. We couple this longitudinal analysis with a biregional comparison of stable isotope data (delta(15)N) on ants from Argentina (native range) and California (introduced range) to quantify (i) how the trophic position of L. humile differs between native and introduced populations, and (ii) how relative trophic position as estimated by delta(15)N values of Argentine ants compare with those of other ants at the same site. Both long-term and biregional comparisons indicate that the Argentine ant's relative trophic position is reduced at sites with a longer history of occupation. Over the course of 8 years, the relative trophic position of L. humile remained high at the leading edge of an invasion front but declined, on average, behind the front as native ants disappeared. Relative to native populations, where L. humile is among the most carnivorous of ants, Argentine ants from California occupied lower trophic positions. These results support the hypothesis that Argentine ants shift their diet after establishment as a result of resource depletion and increasing reliance on plant-based resources, especially honeydew-producing Hemiptera. Our results demonstrate the value of long-term and biregional data in uncovering ecological effects of invasions.

  13. Plant community associations of the invasive thistles

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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. Once established, invasive species can significantly change the composition of the communities that they inv...

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    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.

  17. 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

  18. Fast food in ant communities: how competing species find resources.

    PubMed

    Pearce-Duvet, Jessica M C; Moyano, Martin; Adler, Frederick R; Feener, Donald H

    2011-09-01

    An understanding of foraging behavior is crucial to understanding higher level community dynamics; in particular, there is a lack of information about how different species discover food resources. We examined the effect of forager number and forager discovery capacity on food discovery in two disparate temperate ant communities, located in Texas and Arizona. We defined forager discovery capacity as the per capita rate of resource discovery, or how quickly individual ants arrived at resources. In general, resources were discovered more quickly when more foragers were present; this was true both within communities, where species identity was ignored, as well as within species. This pattern suggests that resource discovery is a matter of random processes, with ants essentially bumping into resources at a rate mediated by their abundance. In contrast, species that were better discoverers, as defined by the proportion of resources discovered first, did not have higher numbers of mean foragers. Instead, both mean forager number and mean forager discovery capacity determined discovery success. The Texas species used both forager number and capacity, whereas the Arizona species used only forager capacity. There was a negative correlation between a species' prevalence in the environment and the discovery capacity of its foragers, suggesting that a given species cannot exploit both high numbers and high discovery capacity as a strategy. These results highlight that while forager number is crucial to determining time to discovery at the community level and within species, individual forager characteristics influence the outcome of exploitative competition in ant communities.

  19. 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

  20. Diversity and distribution of ant communities in Puerto Rico

    Treesearch

    J.A. Torres

    1984-01-01

    I studied ants in upland tropical forest, grassland and agricultural land in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, to uncover factors responsible for the distribution and number of species in these communities. Observations, laboratory studies and field experiments were used. Microclimate influenced the distributions of Pheidole fallax, Solenopsis geminata and Monomorium ebeninum...

  1. Ants mediate the structure of phytotelm communities in an ant-garden bromeliad.

    PubMed

    Céréghino, Régis; Leroy, Céline; Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2010-05-01

    The main theories explaining the biological diversity of rain forests often confer a limited understanding of the contribution of interspecific interactions to the observed patterns. We show how two-species mutualisms can affect much larger segments of the invertebrate community in tropical rain forests. Aechmea mertensii (Bromeliaceae) is both a phytotelm (plant-held water) and an ant-garden epiphyte. We studied the influence of its associated ant species (Pachycondyla goeldii and Camponotus femoratus) on the physical characteristics of the plants, and, subsequently, on the diversity of the invertebrate communities that inhabit their tanks. As dispersal agents for the bromeliads, P. goeldii and C. femoratus influence the shape and size of the bromeliad by determining the location of the seedling, from exposed to partially shaded areas. By coexisting on a local scale, the two ant species generate a gradient of habitat conditions in terms of available resources (space and food) for aquatic invertebrates, the diversity of the invertebrate communities increasing with greater volumes of water and fine detritus. Two-species mutualisms are widespread in nature, but their influence on the diversity of entire communities remains largely unexplored. Because macroinvertebrates constitute an important part of animal production in all ecosystem types, further investigations should address the functional implications of such indirect effects.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-21

    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.

  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.

  5. 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...

  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. Exploitative strategies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and native ant species in a southern Spanish pine forest.

    PubMed

    Carpintero, S; Retana, J; Cerdá, X; Reyes-López, J; Arias de Reyna, L

    2007-10-01

    The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr, 1868), is displacing native ant species in Doñana National Park (Spain). This paper discusses the results of experiments aimed at analyzing exploitation competition between the invading species and other ant species in a park community. The Argentine ant was found to implement several strategies favoring its success in exploitation competition: mass recruitment, use of various microhabitats (on the ground and in trees), and activity over a wide range of temperatures. Although these strategies were not exclusive to L. humile, their joint use, together with the large number of workers forming each "unicolony," conferred a clear advantage for resource exploitation. Some native species were more severely affected than others by the presence of L. humile in terms of both abundance and behavior. The worst affected species were those whose ecological characteristics were similar to those of the Argentine ant, e.g., Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849); the species least affected was Cataglyphis floricola Tinaut, 1993, possibly because of its subordinate and thermophilous nature (little overlap of daily activity rhythms with the exotic species).

  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

    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.

  9. Consequences of prescribed fire and grazing on grassland ant communities.

    PubMed

    Underwood, Emma C; Christian, Caroline E

    2009-04-01

    Prescribed fire and livestock grazing are used for the management and restoration of native grasslands the world over; however, the effects of these management techniques on ant communities are unclear. We examined the response of ants to these disturbances in grasslands in northern California. Twenty-four 30 by 30 m plots were established across two sites that received one of four treatments: grazing, fire, grazing and fire, or no treatment. Ants were censused using 240 pitfall traps with one preburn and two postburn samples (14 d and 1 yr after burning). We analyzed ant abundance using broadly defined groups based on feeding habit and/or habitat use and detected no grazing effect but a significant fire effect that differed by group. Immediate postfire sampling showed an increase in cryptic species (particularly Brachymyrmex depilis). One year after the fire, no response was detected for cryptic species, but burned plots had greater abundance of seed harvesters. Analysis of vegetation showed burned plots had significantly greater forb cover, which might have provided greater food resources, and also lower biomass, which might have facilitated foraging. Understanding the effects of these management tools on ant abundance complements our understanding of their effect on vegetation and assists conservation practitioners effectively manage grassland ecosystems both in California and beyond.

  10. From endogenous to exogenous pattern formation: Invasive plant species changes the spatial distribution of a native ant.

    PubMed

    Li, Kevin; He, Yifan; Campbell, Susanna K; Colborn, A Shawn; Jackson, Eliot L; Martin, Austin; Monagan, Ivan V; Ong, Theresa Wei Ying; Perfecto, Ivette

    2017-02-23

    Invasive species are a significant threat to global biodiversity, but our understanding of how invasive species impact native communities across space and time remains limited. Based on observations in an old field in Southeast Michigan spanning 35 years, our study documents significant impacts of habitat change, likely driven by the invasion of the shrub, Elaeagnus umbellata, on the nest distribution patterns and population demographics of a native ant species, Formica obscuripes. Landcover change in aerial photographs indicates that E. umbellata expanded aggressively, transforming a large proportion of the original open field into dense shrubland. By comparing the ant's landcover preferences before and after the invasion, we demonstrate that this species experienced a significant unfavorable change in its foraging areas. We also find that shrub landcover significantly moderates aggression between nests, suggesting nests are more related where there is more E. umbellata. This may represent a shift in reproductive strategy from queen flights, reported in the past, to asexual nest budding. Our results suggest that E. umbellata may affect the spatial distribution of F. obscuripes by shifting the drivers of nest pattern formation from an endogenous process (queen flights), which led to a uniform pattern, to a process that is both endogenous (nest budding) and exogenous (loss of preferred habitat), resulting in a significantly different clustered pattern. The number and sizes of F. obscuripes nests in our study site are projected to decrease in the next 40 years, although further study of this population's colony structures is needed to understand the extent of this decrease. Elaeagnus umbellata is a common invasive shrub, and similar impacts on native species might occur in its invasive range, or in areas with similar shrub invasions.

  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. Colony-structure variation and interspecific competitive ability in the invasive Argentine ant.

    PubMed

    Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V

    2004-01-01

    The success of some invasive species may depend on phenotypic changes that occur following introduction. In Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) introduced populations typically lack intraspecific aggression, but native populations display such behavior commonly. We employ three approaches to examine how this behavioral shift might influence interspecific competitive ability. In a laboratory experiment, we reared colonies of Forelius mccooki with pairs of Argentine ant colonies that either did or did not exhibit intraspecific aggression. F. mccooki reared with intraspecifically non-aggressive pairs of Argentine ants produced fewer eggs, foraged less actively, and supported fewer living workers than those reared with intraspecifically aggressive pairs. At natural contact zones between competing colonies of L. humile and F. mccooki, the introduction of experimental Argentine ant colonies that fought with conspecific field colonies caused L. humile to abandon baits in the presence of F. mccooki, whereas the introduction of colonies that did not fight with field colonies of Argentine ants resulted in L. humile retaining possession of baits. Additional evidence for the potential importance of colony- structure variation comes from the Argentine ant's native range. At a site along the Rio de la Plata in Argentina, we found an inverse relationship between ant richness and density of L. humile (apparently a function of local differences in colony structure) in two different years of sampling.

  13. Honeydew-producing hemipterans in Florida associated with Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an invasive crazy ant

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Formicidae) is an invasive pest ant that has been reported in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Workers tend various honeydew producing hemipterans in Florida landscapes and natural areas. We sought to understand the seasonal foraging activities of N. fulva and its ...

  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. Short-term effects of fire on Sky Island ant communities

    Treesearch

    Elliot B. Wilkinson; Edward G. Lebrun; Mary Lou Spencer; Caroline Whitby; Chris Kleine

    2005-01-01

    Few studies investigating effects of fire on ant communities have been conducted worldwide, and none in the biologically diverse and fire prone region of the Sky Islands. Ant genera richness and total abundance are significantly higher in burned areas. Ant community structure changes between unburned and burned sites, implying that disturbance may influence the role of...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-10

    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.

  20. Single-stranded RNA viruses infecting the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile.

    PubMed

    Gruber, Monica A M; Cooling, Meghan; Baty, James W; Buckley, Kevin; Friedlander, Anna; Quinn, Oliver; Russell, Jessica F E J; Sébastien, Alexandra; Lester, Philip J

    2017-06-12

    Social insects host a diversity of viruses. We examined New Zealand populations of the globally widely distributed invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) for RNA viruses. We used metatranscriptomic analysis, which identified six potential novel viruses in the Dicistroviridae family. Of these, three contigs were confirmed by Sanger sequencing as Linepithema humile virus-1 (LHUV-1), a novel strain of Kashmir bee virus (KBV) and Black queen cell virus (BQCV), while the others were chimeric or misassembled sequences. We extended the known sequence of LHUV-1 to confirm its placement in the Dicistroviridae and categorised its relationship to closest relatives, which were all viruses infecting Hymenoptera. We examined further for known viruses by mapping our metatranscriptomic sequences to all viral genomes, and confirmed KBV, BQCV, LHUV-1 and Deformed wing virus (DWV) presence using qRT-PCR. Viral replication was confirmed for DWV, KBV and LHUV-1. Viral titers in ants were higher in the presence of honey bee hives. Argentine ants appear to host a range of' honey bee' pathogens in addition to a virus currently described only from this invasive ant. The role of these viruses in the population dynamics of the ant remain to be determined, but offer potential targets for biocontrol approaches.

  1. Low levels of nestmate discrimination despite high genetic differentiation in the invasive pharaoh ant.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Anna M; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Pedersen, Jes S

    2010-06-30

    Ants typically distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates based on the perception of colony-specific chemicals, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons present on the surface of the ants' exoskeleton. These recognition cues are believed to play an important role in the formation of vast so-called supercolonies that have been described for some invasive ant species, but general conclusions about the role of these cues are hampered by only few species being studied. Here we use data on cuticular hydrocarbons, aggression and microsatellite genetic markers to investigate the interdependence of chemical recognition cues, genetic distance and nestmate discrimination in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), a widespread pest species, and ask whether introduced populations of this species are genetically differentiated and exhibit intraspecific aggression. Microsatellite analyses of a total of 35 colonies from four continents revealed extremely high levels of genetic differentiation between almost all colonies (FST = 0.751 +/- 0.006 SE) and very low within-colony diversity. This implies that at least 34 and likely hundreds more independent lineages of this ant have spread worldwide. Aggression tests involving workers from 14 different colonies showed only low levels of aggression, even between colonies that were geographically and/or genetically very distant. Chemical analyses of groups of worker ants showed that all colonies had the same cuticular compounds, which varied only quantitatively among colonies. There was a positive correlation between geographical and genetic distance, but no other significant relationships were detected between aggression, chemical profile, genetic distance and geographical distance. The pharaoh ant has a global invasion history of numerous independent introductions resulting in genetically highly differentiated colonies typically displaying surprisingly low levels of intraspecific aggression, a behaviour that may have evolved in the native range

  2. Low levels of nestmate discrimination despite high genetic differentiation in the invasive pharaoh ant

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Ants typically distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates based on the perception of colony-specific chemicals, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons present on the surface of the ants' exoskeleton. These recognition cues are believed to play an important role in the formation of vast so-called supercolonies that have been described for some invasive ant species, but general conclusions about the role of these cues are hampered by only few species being studied. Here we use data on cuticular hydrocarbons, aggression and microsatellite genetic markers to investigate the interdependence of chemical recognition cues, genetic distance and nestmate discrimination in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), a widespread pest species, and ask whether introduced populations of this species are genetically differentiated and exhibit intraspecific aggression. Results Microsatellite analyses of a total of 35 colonies from four continents revealed extremely high levels of genetic differentiation between almost all colonies (FST = 0.751 ± 0.006 SE) and very low within-colony diversity. This implies that at least 34 and likely hundreds more independent lineages of this ant have spread worldwide. Aggression tests involving workers from 14 different colonies showed only low levels of aggression, even between colonies that were geographically and/or genetically very distant. Chemical analyses of groups of worker ants showed that all colonies had the same cuticular compounds, which varied only quantitatively among colonies. There was a positive correlation between geographical and genetic distance, but no other significant relationships were detected between aggression, chemical profile, genetic distance and geographical distance. Conclusions The pharaoh ant has a global invasion history of numerous independent introductions resulting in genetically highly differentiated colonies typically displaying surprisingly low levels of intraspecific aggression, a behaviour that may

  3. 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

  4. 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

    2015-10-27

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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. ...

  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. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.

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

    PubMed

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Plasticity in queen number and social structure in the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile).

    PubMed

    Ingram, Krista K

    2002-10-01

    In many polygynous social insect societies, ecological factors such as habitat saturation promote high queen numbers by increasing the cost of solitary breeding. If polygyny is associated with constrained environments, queen number in colonies of invasive social insects should increase as saturation of their new habitat increases. Here I describe the variation in queen number, nestmate relatedness, and nest size along a gradient of time since colonization in an invading population of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in Haleakala, Hawaii. Nest densities in this population increase with distance from the leading edge of the invasion, reaching a stable density plateau approximately 80 m from the edge (> 2 years after colonization). Although the number of queens per nest in Haleakala is generally lower than previously reported for Argentine ants, there is significant variation in queen number across this population. Both the observed and effective queen numbers increase across the density gradient, and nests in the center of the population contain queen numbers three to nine times higher than those on the edge of the invasion. The number of workers per nest is correlated with queen number, and nests in the center are six times larger than nests at the edge. Microsatellite analysis of relatedness among nestmates reveals that all nests in the Haleakala population are characterized by low relatedness and have evidence of multiple reproducing queens. Relatedness values are significantly lower in nests in the center of the population, indicating that the number of reproducing queens is greater in areas of high nest density. The variation in queen number and nestmate relatedness in this study is consistent with expectations based on changes in ecological constraints during the invasion of a new habitat, suggesting that the social structure of Argentine ant populations is strongly influenced by ecological factors. Flexibility in social structure may facilitate persistence

  12. Plant genotype shapes ant-aphid interactions: implications for community structure and indirect plant defense.

    PubMed

    Mooney, Kailen A; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2008-06-01

    Little is known about the mechanisms by which plant genotype shapes arthropod community structure. In a field experiment, we measured the effects of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) genotype and ants on milkweed arthropods. Populations of the ant-tended aphid Aphis asclepiadis and the untended aphid Myzocallis asclepiadis varied eight- to 18-fold among milkweed genotypes, depending on aphid species and whether ants were present. There was no milkweed effect on predatory arthropods. Ants increased Aphis abundance 59%, decreased Myzocallis abundance 52%, and decreased predator abundance 56%. Milkweed genotype indirectly influenced ants via direct effects on Aphis and Myzocallis abundance. Milkweed genotype also modified ant-aphid interactions, influencing the number of ants attracted per Aphis and Myzocallis. While ant effects on Myzocallis were consistently negative, effects on Aphis ranged from antagonistic to mutualistic among milkweed genotypes. As a consequence of milkweed effects on ant-aphid interactions, ant abundance varied 13-fold among milkweed genotypes, and monarch caterpillar survival was negatively correlated with genetic variation in ant abundance. We speculate that heritable variation in milkweed phloem sap drives these effects on aphids, ants, and caterpillars. In summary, milkweed exerts genetic control over the interactions between aphids and an ant that provides defense against foliage-feeding caterpillars.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  16. 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.

  17. Effectiveness of Winkler Litter Extraction and Pitfall Traps in Sampling Ant Communities and Functional Groups in a Temperate Forest.

    PubMed

    Mahon, Michael B; Campbell, Kaitlin U; Crist, Thomas O

    2017-06-01

    Selection of proper sampling methods for measuring a community of interest is essential whether the study goals are to conduct a species inventory, environmental monitoring, or a manipulative experiment. Insect diversity studies often employ multiple collection methods at the expense of researcher time and funding. Ants (Formicidae) are widely used in environmental monitoring owing to their sensitivity to ecosystem changes. When sampling ant communities, two passive techniques are recommended in combination: pitfall traps and Winkler litter extraction. These recommendations are often based on studies from highly diverse tropical regions or when a species inventory is the goal. Studies in temperate regions often focus on measuring consistent community response along gradients of disturbance or among management regimes; therefore, multiple sampling methods may be unnecessary. We compared the effectiveness of pitfalls and Winkler litter extraction in an eastern temperate forest for measuring ant species richness, composition, and occurrence of ant functional groups in response to experimental manipulations of two key forest ecosystem drivers, white-tailed deer and an invasive shrub (Amur honeysuckle). We found no significant effect of sampling method on the outcome of the ecological experiment; however, we found differences between the two sampling methods in the resulting ant species richness and functional group occurrence. Litter samples approximated the overall combined species richness and composition, but pitfalls were better at sampling large-bodied (Camponotus) species. We conclude that employing both methods is essential only for species inventories or monitoring ants in the Cold-climate Specialists functional group. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-05-01

    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.

  20. 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

  1. Cuticular hydrocarbons as queen adoption cues in the invasive Argentine ant.

    PubMed

    Vásquez, Gissella M; Schal, Coby; Silverman, Jules

    2008-04-01

    In social insects, individuals typically recognize and behave aggressively towards alien conspecifics, thereby maintaining colony integrity. This is presumably achieved via a nestmate recognition system in which cuticular compounds, usually cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC), of genetic and/or environmental origin serve as recognition cues. Most invasive populations of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), display minimal nestmate-non-nestmate discrimination, resulting in low levels of intraspecific aggression allowing free movement of workers and queens among nests. However, invasive L. humile in the southeastern United States show relatively high levels of intraspecific aggression, and selectively adopt non-nestmate queens. Using behavioral assays and gas chromatography, we found an association between non-nestmate queen adoption and similarity of the CHC profiles of adopted and host colony queens. Also, nestmate and non-nestmate queen CHC profiles became more similar after adoption by queenless colonies. Furthermore, queens treated with non-nestmate queen CHC had distinct CHC profiles and were generally attacked by nestmate workers. We suggest that in L. humile, CHC are used as queen recognition cues, and that queen recognition errors are more likely to occur when the CHC profiles of non-nestmate and host colony queens are similar. Our findings provide further evidence for the complex and dynamic nature of L. humile nestmate discrimination, which may in part underlie the success of introduced populations of this invasive ant.

  2. Effect of an invasive and native ant on a field population of the black citrus aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

    PubMed

    Powell, B E; Brightwell, R J; Silverman, J

    2009-12-01

    Invasive ants often enter into facultative mutualisms that frequently lead to outbreaks of the hemipteran partner. Native ants may also enter into similar mutualisms but often these do not lead to outbreaks. However, field studies comparing the impact of an invasive and native ant on a honeydew-producing hemipteran are lacking. We monitored numerical changes of the black citrus aphid, Toxoptera aurantii, tended by adjacent colonies of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and the endemic odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile, during 2005, 2006, and 2007. Ant-tended aphid numbers were higher than those of untended aphids, with L. humile-tended and T. sessile-tended T. aurantii populations being comparable in 2005 and 2007. However, in 2006, a severe storm, with heavy rainfall, reduced T. sessile and aphid populations in areas occupied by T. sessile, whereas L. humile and aphids tended by L. humile were not reduced. This suggested that T. sessile foraging activity and hemipteran-tending was negatively impacted by severe weather. A laboratory experiment simulating rainfall striking the surface of a leaf showed that T. sessile foraging activity declined sharply under severe simulated rainfall conditions, whereas foraging activity of L. humile did not. Maintaining populations of honeydew-producing Hemiptera across broad climatic conditions may be one mechanism by which L. humile gains a competitive advantage over native ants occupying overlapping niches.

  3. Niches and coexistence of ant communities in Puerto Rico

    Treesearch

    J.A. Torres

    1984-01-01

    I studied ant coexistence in adjacent areas of upland tropical forest, grassland, and agricultural land in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. Data on food utilization, daily activity, nesting sites, microhabitat utilization and interspecific aggression were collected. Ants' tolerance to 45 degree C was determined in the laboratory. Agricultural and grassland ants eat grain...

  4. 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

  5. Plant community associations of two invasive thistles.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-02

    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. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. [Coexistence mechanism of ant community in lac plantation under habitat heterogeneity].

    PubMed

    Wang, Si-ming; Chen, You-qing; Lu, Zhi-xing; Liu, Chun-ju; Guo, Zu-xue

    2010-10-01

    In order to reveal the coexistence mechanism of ant community in lac plantation, an investigation was made on the ant community composition and the ability of ant species in discovering and holding food resources in a lac plantation in Yayi Town of Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, with the relationships between ant body size and its ability of finding food under habitat heterogeneity probed. There were six dominant ant species in the plantation, i. e., Tetraponera allaborans (Walker), Crematogaster macaoensis Wheeler, Crematogasterferrarii Emery, Dolichoderus thoracicus (Smith), Polyrhachis proxima Roger, and Camponotus parius Emery. The hind leg length (y) of the six ant species increased allometrically with their head width (x), and the regression equation was y = 0.56 + 1.02x + 5.97x2 - 10.85x3. Different ant species had significant differences in their actual and relative frequency in discovering food resources in different habitats, but habitat type had no significant effects on the actual frequency in holding food resources by the ant species. The ant species with bigger head width and bigger body size index could discover more food resources in simple habitat. In contrast, the ant species with smaller head width, shorter hind leg length, and smaller body size index could discover more food resources in complex habitat. The heterogeneity of habitat caused the coexistence of ants: the smaller ant species lived in complex habitat, while the larger ones lived in simple habitat. In addition, numerically dominant ant species were unable to possess all resources, and thereby, could provide the opportunity to other ant species for resources acquisition, making the species coexistence come true.

  10. Behavioral plasticity mediates asymmetric competition between invasive wasps and native ants

    PubMed Central

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J.

    2012-01-01

    One of the most successful invasive species is the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris. We recently reported how foragers of this species have adopted previously unknown interference behavior when competing for food with native ants. Picking their opponents up in their mandibles, flying backward and dropping them some distance away from the disputed resource, wasps were shown to efficiently deal with a yet aggressive competitor and to modulate this behavior according to circumstances. Here we further discuss the nature and functioning of this unusual strategy. We first highlight the questions this interaction raises regarding the competitive advantages offered by asymmetries in body size and flight ability. Then, we argue that this study system illustrates the important role of behavioral plasticity in biological invasions; not only in the success of invaders but also in the ability of native species to coexist with these invaders. PMID:22808314

  11. Behavioral plasticity mediates asymmetric competition between invasive wasps and native ants.

    PubMed

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J

    2012-03-01

    One of the most successful invasive species is the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris. We recently reported how foragers of this species have adopted previously unknown interference behavior when competing for food with native ants. Picking their opponents up in their mandibles, flying backward and dropping them some distance away from the disputed resource, wasps were shown to efficiently deal with a yet aggressive competitor and to modulate this behavior according to circumstances. Here we further discuss the nature and functioning of this unusual strategy. We first highlight the questions this interaction raises regarding the competitive advantages offered by asymmetries in body size and flight ability. Then, we argue that this study system illustrates the important role of behavioral plasticity in biological invasions; not only in the success of invaders but also in the ability of native species to coexist with these invaders.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Diversity of Eastern North American ant communities along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. A novel intracellular mutualistic bacterium in the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Antonia; Schrader, Lukas; Gil, Rosario; Manzano-Marín, Alejandro; Flórez, Laura; Wheeler, David; Werren, John H; Latorre, Amparo; Heinze, Jürgen; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Moya, Andrés; Oettler, Jan

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of eukaryotic organisms is often strongly influenced by microbial symbionts that confer novel traits to their hosts. Here we describe the intracellular Enterobacteriaceae symbiont of the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, ‘Candidatus Westeberhardia cardiocondylae'. Upon metamorphosis, Westeberhardia is found in gut-associated bacteriomes that deteriorate following eclosion. Only queens maintain Westeberhardia in the ovarian nurse cells from where the symbionts are transmitted to late-stage oocytes during nurse cell depletion. Functional analyses of the streamlined genome of Westeberhardia (533 kb, 23.41% GC content) indicate that neither vitamins nor essential amino acids are provided for the host. However, the genome encodes for an almost complete shikimate pathway leading to 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate, which could be converted into tyrosine by the host. Taken together with increasing titers of Westeberhardia during pupal stage, this suggests a contribution of Westeberhardia to cuticle formation. Despite a widespread occurrence of Westeberhardia across host populations, one ant lineage was found to be naturally symbiont-free, pointing to the loss of an otherwise prevalent endosymbiont. This study yields insights into a novel intracellular mutualist that could play a role in the invasive success of C. obscurior. PMID:26172209

  18. A novel intracellular mutualistic bacterium in the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior.

    PubMed

    Klein, Antonia; Schrader, Lukas; Gil, Rosario; Manzano-Marín, Alejandro; Flórez, Laura; Wheeler, David; Werren, John H; Latorre, Amparo; Heinze, Jürgen; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Moya, Andrés; Oettler, Jan

    2016-02-01

    The evolution of eukaryotic organisms is often strongly influenced by microbial symbionts that confer novel traits to their hosts. Here we describe the intracellular Enterobacteriaceae symbiont of the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, 'Candidatus Westeberhardia cardiocondylae'. Upon metamorphosis, Westeberhardia is found in gut-associated bacteriomes that deteriorate following eclosion. Only queens maintain Westeberhardia in the ovarian nurse cells from where the symbionts are transmitted to late-stage oocytes during nurse cell depletion. Functional analyses of the streamlined genome of Westeberhardia (533 kb, 23.41% GC content) indicate that neither vitamins nor essential amino acids are provided for the host. However, the genome encodes for an almost complete shikimate pathway leading to 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate, which could be converted into tyrosine by the host. Taken together with increasing titers of Westeberhardia during pupal stage, this suggests a contribution of Westeberhardia to cuticle formation. Despite a widespread occurrence of Westeberhardia across host populations, one ant lineage was found to be naturally symbiont-free, pointing to the loss of an otherwise prevalent endosymbiont. This study yields insights into a novel intracellular mutualist that could play a role in the invasive success of C. obscurior.

  19. 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.

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

    Treesearch

    M.P. Sanford; Patricia N. Manley; Dennis D. Murphy

    2009-01-01

    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...

  2. 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. © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. Impact of selenium on mortality, bioaccumulation and feeding deterrence in the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Vindiola, Beatriz G; Castañeda, Tracy N; Parker, David R; Trumble, John T

    2014-05-15

    Ants are known for the important roles they play in processes contributing to ecosystem functioning in many habitats. However, pollutants can impact the ecosystem services provided by ants. The Argentine ant, an invasive species in North America, was investigated for the potential impact selenium (Se) may have on ants residing within a contaminated habitat. Mortality tests were conducted using worker ants fed an artificial nectar source containing 1-of-4 environmentally common Se compounds (forms): seleno-l-methionine, methylselenocysteine, selenate or selenite. Accumulation of Se in ant bodies at the end of two weeks was quantified with the use of hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy. Lastly, we conducted choice tests using dyes to determine whether ants might avoid a carbohydrate diet containing Se by providing them a choice between sucrose with or without Se. Choice tests also tested the responses of ants to selenium when provided in different background sucrose concentrations. The results of this study indicated that form and quantity of Se, as well as time of exposure, impact mortality in Argentine ant workers. Methylselenocysteine and selenate were found to be the most toxic among the 4 chemical forms when presented in sucrose solutions, whereas seleno-l-methionine and selenite caused greater Se body burdens. Furthermore, choice tests showed that ants did not prefer control sucrose solution to sucrose treated with Se regardless of the background sucrose concentration. These findings serve as first look into the possible detrimental impacts these contaminants may pose for ants that frequent sugary nectar sources. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  5. Trophic ecology of the invasive argentine ant: spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation and isotopic enrichment

    PubMed Central

    Suarez, Andy V.; Tillberg, Chadwick V.; Chou, Cheng T.; Holway, David A.

    2010-01-01

    Studies of food webs often employ stable isotopic approaches to infer trophic position and interaction strength without consideration of spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation by constituent species. Using results from laboratory diet manipulations and monthly sampling of field populations, we illustrate how nitrogen isotopes may be used to quantify spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation in ants. First, we determined nitrogen enrichment using a controlled laboratory experiment with the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). After 12 weeks, worker δ15N values from colonies fed an animal-based diet had δ15N values that were 5.51% greater compared to colonies fed a plant-based diet. The shift in δ15N values in response to the experimental diet occurred within 10 weeks. We next reared Argentine ant colonies with or without access to honeydew-producing aphids and found that after 8 weeks workers from colonies without access to aphids had δ15N values that were 6.31% larger compared to colonies with access to honeydew. Second, we sampled field populations over a 1-year period to quantify spatio-temporal variability in isotopic ratios of L. humile and those of a common native ant (Solenopsis xyloni). Samples from free-living colonies revealed that fluctuations in δ15N were 1.6–2.4‰ for L. humile and 1.8–2.9‰ for S. xyloni. Variation was also detected among L. humile castes: time averaged means of δ15N varied from 1.2 to 2.5‰ depending on the site, with δ15N values for queens ≥ workers > brood. The estimated trophic positions of L. humile and S. xyloni were similar within a site; however, trophic position for each species differed significantly at larger spatial scales. While stable isotopes are clearly useful for examining the trophic ecology of arthropod communities, our results suggest that caution is warranted when making ecological interpretations when stable isotope collections come from single time periods or

  6. Trophic ecology of the invasive argentine ant: spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation and isotopic enrichment.

    PubMed

    Menke, Sean B; Suarez, Andy V; Tillberg, Chadwick V; Chou, Cheng T; Holway, David A

    2010-11-01

    Studies of food webs often employ stable isotopic approaches to infer trophic position and interaction strength without consideration of spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation by constituent species. Using results from laboratory diet manipulations and monthly sampling of field populations, we illustrate how nitrogen isotopes may be used to quantify spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation in ants. First, we determined nitrogen enrichment using a controlled laboratory experiment with the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). After 12 weeks, worker δ(15)N values from colonies fed an animal-based diet had δ(15)N values that were 5.51% greater compared to colonies fed a plant-based diet. The shift in δ(15)N values in response to the experimental diet occurred within 10 weeks. We next reared Argentine ant colonies with or without access to honeydew-producing aphids and found that after 8 weeks workers from colonies without access to aphids had δ(15)N values that were 6.31% larger compared to colonies with access to honeydew. Second, we sampled field populations over a 1-year period to quantify spatio-temporal variability in isotopic ratios of L. humile and those of a common native ant (Solenopsis xyloni). Samples from free-living colonies revealed that fluctuations in δ(15)N were 1.6-2.4‰ for L. humile and 1.8-2.9‰ for S. xyloni. Variation was also detected among L. humile castes: time averaged means of δ(15)N varied from 1.2 to 2.5‰ depending on the site, with δ(15)N values for queens ≥ workers > brood. The estimated trophic positions of L. humile and S. xyloni were similar within a site; however, trophic position for each species differed significantly at larger spatial scales. While stable isotopes are clearly useful for examining the trophic ecology of arthropod communities, our results suggest that caution is warranted when making ecological interpretations when stable isotope collections come from single time periods or

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  8. Effects of an invasive ant on land snails in the Ogasawara Islands.

    PubMed

    Uchida, Shota; Mori, Hideaki; Kojima, Tsubasa; Hayama, Kayo; Sakairi, Yuko; Chiba, Satoshi

    2016-12-01

    We investigated how Pheidole megacephala has affected endemic achatinellid snails because these snails are excellent indicators of the impact of ants and they have high conservation value in Ogasawara. In 2015 we surveyed the Minamizaki area of Hahajima Island of Ogasawara, designated a core zone of the World Heritage Site, for P. megacephala. In Minamizaki, we determined the distribution and density of achatinellid snails in 2015 and compared these data with their distribution and density in 2005. Land cover in the survey area was entirely forest. We also tested whether P. megacephala preyed on achatinellid snails in the laboratory. P. megacephala was present in the forested areas of Minamizaki. Achatinellid snails were absent in 19 of 39 sites where P. megacephala was present, whereas in other areas densities of the snails ranged from 2 to 228 individuals/site. In the laboratory, P. megacephala carried 6 of 7 achatinellid snails and a broken shell was found. Snail distribution and density comparisons and results of the feeding experiments suggest that the presence of P. megacephala has contributed to the decline of achatinellid snails in forests in the survey area. Yet, P. megacephala is not on the official list of invasive non-native species. Stakeholders using the list of invasive species to develop conservation programs should recognize that invasiveness of non-native species differs depending on the ecosystem and that official lists may not be complete.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Food webs in the litter: effects of food and nest addition on ant communities in coffee agroecosystems and forest.

    PubMed

    Murnen, Cody J; Gonthier, David J; Philpott, Stacy M

    2013-08-01

    Community assembly is driven by multiple factors, including resource availability and habitat requirements. Litter nesting ants respond to food and nest site availability, and adding food and nests may increase ant species richness and abundance. However, litter decomposers share food resources with ants, and increasing food availability may speed decomposition processes, eliminating twigs and seeds in which litter ants nest. We manipulated ant food and nest resources in three habitat types (forest, high-shade coffee, and low-shade coffee) to determine ant community responses after 1 and 2 mo. We examined changes in numbers of ant species, colonies, workers, brood, colony growth rate, and ant species composition. Habitat type strongly affected ant communities, influencing ant species richness, numbers of colonies and workers, and ant species composition. However, food addition and nest addition did not affect these community characteristics. Colony growth rate did not differ with food addition but was greater in forest and low-shade coffee compared with high-shade coffee. Habitat differences in colony growth may be because of presence of an aggressive species (Wasmannia auropunctata Roger) in high-shade coffee plots or naturally low arthropod densities during a time when ant colonization was low. Thus, in coffee landscapes, habitat type impacts litter nesting ant community structure, composition, and colony growth rate; however, food and nest addition had small impacts.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  14. 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.

  15. Vinasse and Its Influence on Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities in Sugarcane Crops.

    PubMed

    Saad, L P; Souza-Campana, D R; Bueno, O C; Morini, M S C

    2017-01-01

    Sugarcane is an important crop within the Brazilian socioeconomic landscape. There is a constant need for approaches to increase sustainability at all steps of the production chain. Irrigating sugarcane crops with vinasse is one of these approaches, because vinasse is a residue of sugarcane processing that can be used to fertilize these same crops. However, due to its chemical properties, vinasse may be harmful to soil fauna. Analyzing the structure and functional organization of ant communities is a fast and practical way to monitor sites affected by the addition of chemicals. This study compared the structure of soil ant communities in vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops to those in secondary forests adjacent to the crops. In total, 32 genera and 107 species of ants were observed; of these, 30 species foraged in crop fields and 102 foraged in forests. Twenty-five percent of the species were present in both crops and forests. Ant communities in crop soil had poorer taxonomic composition and lower richness in each functional group compared to communities in forest remnants. However, regardless of vegetation type, epigeic ants were more diverse, and Dorymyrmex brunneus (crop) and Pachycondyla striata (forest) were very frequent. Vinasse did not increase the diversity of epigeic and hypogeic ants, but it may affect the community composition.

  16. Vinasse and Its Influence on Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities in Sugarcane Crops

    PubMed Central

    Saad, L. P.; Souza-Campana, D. R.; Bueno, O. C.

    2017-01-01

    Sugarcane is an important crop within the Brazilian socioeconomic landscape. There is a constant need for approaches to increase sustainability at all steps of the production chain. Irrigating sugarcane crops with vinasse is one of these approaches, because vinasse is a residue of sugarcane processing that can be used to fertilize these same crops. However, due to its chemical properties, vinasse may be harmful to soil fauna. Analyzing the structure and functional organization of ant communities is a fast and practical way to monitor sites affected by the addition of chemicals. This study compared the structure of soil ant communities in vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops to those in secondary forests adjacent to the crops. In total, 32 genera and 107 species of ants were observed; of these, 30 species foraged in crop fields and 102 foraged in forests. Twenty-five percent of the species were present in both crops and forests. Ant communities in crop soil had poorer taxonomic composition and lower richness in each functional group compared to communities in forest remnants. However, regardless of vegetation type, epigeic ants were more diverse, and Dorymyrmex brunneus (crop) and Pachycondyla striata (forest) were very frequent. Vinasse did not increase the diversity of epigeic and hypogeic ants, but it may affect the community composition. PMID:28130455

  17. Community analysis of microbial sharing and specialization in a Costa Rican ant-plant-hemipteran symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Moreau, Corrie S

    2017-03-15

    Ants have long been renowned for their intimate mutualisms with trophobionts and plants and more recently appreciated for their widespread and diverse interactions with microbes. An open question in symbiosis research is the extent to which environmental influence, including the exchange of microbes between interacting macroorganisms, affects the composition and function of symbiotic microbial communities. Here we approached this question by investigating symbiosis within symbiosis. Ant-plant-hemipteran symbioses are hallmarks of tropical ecosystems that produce persistent close contact among the macroorganism partners, which then have substantial opportunity to exchange symbiotic microbes. We used metabarcoding and quantitative PCR to examine community structure of both bacteria and fungi in a Neotropical ant-plant-scale-insect symbiosis. Both phloem-feeding scale insects and honeydew-feeding ants make use of microbial symbionts to subsist on phloem-derived diets of suboptimal nutritional quality. Among the insects examined here, Cephalotes ants and pseudococcid scale insects had the most specialized bacterial symbionts, whereas Azteca ants appeared to consume or associate with more fungi than bacteria, and coccid scale insects were associated with unusually diverse bacterial communities. Despite these differences, we also identified apparent sharing of microbes among the macro-partners. How microbial exchanges affect the consumer-resource interactions that shape the evolution of ant-plant-hemipteran symbioses is an exciting question that awaits further research. © 2017 The Author(s).

  18. 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.

  19. A conceptual framework for invasion in microbial communities.

    PubMed

    Kinnunen, Marta; Dechesne, Arnaud; Proctor, Caitlin; Hammes, Frederik; Johnson, David; Quintela-Baluja, Marcos; Graham, David; Daffonchio, Daniele; Fodelianakis, Stilianos; Hahn, Nicole; Boon, Nico; Smets, Barth F

    2016-12-01

    There is a growing interest in controlling-promoting or avoiding-the invasion of microbial communities by new community members. Resource availability and community structure have been reported as determinants of invasion success. However, most invasion studies do not adhere to a coherent and consistent terminology nor always include rigorous interpretations of the processes behind invasion. Therefore, we suggest that a consistent set of definitions and a rigorous conceptual framework are needed. We define invasion in a microbial community as the establishment of an alien microbial type in a resident community and argue how simple criteria to define aliens, residents, and alien establishment can be applied for a wide variety of communities. In addition, we suggest an adoption of the community ecology framework advanced by Vellend (2010) to clarify potential determinants of invasion. This framework identifies four fundamental processes that control community dynamics: dispersal, selection, drift and diversification. While selection has received ample attention in microbial community invasion research, the three other processes are often overlooked. Here, we elaborate on the relevance of all four processes and conclude that invasion experiments should be designed to elucidate the role of dispersal, drift and diversification, in order to obtain a complete picture of invasion as a community process.

  20. Microbial Community Structure of Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens and Refuse Dumps

    PubMed Central

    Scott, Jarrod J.; Budsberg, Kevin J.; Suen, Garret; Wixon, Devin L.; Balser, Teri C.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2010-01-01

    Background Leaf-cutter ants use fresh plant material to grow a mutualistic fungus that serves as the ants' primary food source. Within fungus gardens, various plant compounds are metabolized and transformed into nutrients suitable for ant consumption. This symbiotic association produces a large amount of refuse consisting primarily of partly degraded plant material. A leaf-cutter ant colony is thus divided into two spatially and chemically distinct environments that together represent a plant biomass degradation gradient. Little is known about the microbial community structure in gardens and dumps or variation between lab and field colonies. Methodology/Principal Findings Using microbial membrane lipid analysis and a variety of community metrics, we assessed and compared the microbiota of fungus gardens and refuse dumps from both laboratory-maintained and field-collected colonies. We found that gardens contained a diverse and consistent community of microbes, dominated by Gram-negative bacteria, particularly γ-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. These findings were consistent across lab and field gardens, as well as host ant taxa. In contrast, dumps were enriched for Gram-positive and anaerobic bacteria. Broad-scale clustering analyses revealed that community relatedness between samples reflected system component (gardens/dumps) rather than colony source (lab/field). At finer scales samples clustered according to colony source. Conclusions/Significance Here we report the first comparative analysis of the microbiota from leaf-cutter ant colonies. Our work reveals the presence of two distinct communities: one in the fungus garden and the other in the refuse dump. Though we find some effect of colony source on community structure, our data indicate the presence of consistently associated microbes within gardens and dumps. Substrate composition and system component appear to be the most important factor in structuring the microbial communities. These results thus

  1. 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.

  2. Multiple interaction types determine the impact of ant predation of caterpillars in a forest community.

    PubMed

    Clark, Robert E; Farkas, Timothy E; Lichter-Marck, Isaac; Johnson, Emily R; Singer, Michael S

    2016-12-01

    Direct and indirect effects of predators are highly variable in complex communities, and understanding the sources of this variation is a research priority in community ecology. Recent evidence indicates that herbivore community structure is a primary determinant of predation strength and its cascading impacts on plants. In this study, we use variation in herbivore community structure among plant species to experimentally test two hypotheses in a temperate forest food web. First, variation in the strength of predator effects, such as ant predation of caterpillars, is predicted to be density dependent, exhibiting stronger effects when prey abundance is high (density-dependent predation hypothesis). Second, mutualistic interactions between ants and sap-feeding herbivores are expected to increase the abundance of predatory ants, strengthening predation effects on herbivores with cascading effects on host plants (keystone mutualism hypothesis). Using a large-scale predator exclusion experiment across eight dominant tree species, we tracked changes in insect density on 862 plants across two years, recording 2,322 ants, 1,062 sap-feeders, 5,322 caterpillars, and quantifying herbivory on 199, 338 leaves. In this experiment, density-dependent predation did not explain variation in the direct or indirect effects of ants on caterpillars and herbivory. In partial support of the keystone mutualism hypothesis, sap-feeders strengthened top-down effects of ants on caterpillars under some conditions. However, stronger ant predation of caterpillars did not lead to measurable trophic cascades on trees occupied by sap-feeders. Instead, the presence of sap-feeders was associated with increased per capita feeding damage by caterpillars, and this bottom-up effect attenuated the indirect effects of ants on host plants. These findings demonstrate that examining the multi-trophic impacts of mutualisms and predation in the context of the broader community can reveal patterns otherwise

  3. Dominance in a ground-dwelling ant community of banana agroecosystem.

    PubMed

    Carval, Dominique; Cotté, Violaine; Resmond, Rémi; Perrin, Benjamin; Tixier, Philippe

    2016-12-01

    In tropical ecosystems, ants represent a substantial portion of the animal biomass and contribute to various ecosystem services, including pest regulation and pollination. Dominant ant species are known to determine the structure of ant communities by interfering in the foraging of other ant species. Using bait and pitfall trapping experiments, we performed a pattern analysis at a fine spatial scale of an ant community in a very simplified and homogeneous agroecosystem, that is, a single-crop banana field in Martinique (French West Indies). We found that the community structure was driven by three dominant species (Solenopsis geminata, Nylanderia guatemalensis, and Monomorium ebeninum) and two subdominant species (Pheidole fallax and Brachymyrmex patagonicus). Our results showed that dominant and subdominant species generally maintained numerical dominance at baits across time, although S. geminata, M. ebeninum, and B. patagonicus displayed better abilities to maintain dominance than P. fallax and N. guatemalensis. Almost all interspecific correlations between species abundances, except those between B. patagonicus and N. guatemalensis, were symmetrically negative, suggesting that interference competition prevails in this ground-dwelling ant community. However, we observed variations in the diurnal and nocturnal foraging activity and in the daily occurrence at baits, which may mitigate the effect of interference competition through the induction of spatial and temporal niche partitioning. This may explain the coexistence of dominant, subdominant, and subordinate species in this very simplified agroecosystem, limited in habitat structure and diversity.

  4. Spatial distribution of dominant arboreal ants in a malagasy coastal rainforest: gaps and presence of an invasive species.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Fisher, Brian L; Corbara, Bruno; Rarevohitra, Raymond; Randrianaivo, Richard; Rajemison, Balsama; Leponce, Maurice

    2010-02-19

    We conducted a survey along three belt transects located at increasing distances from the coast to determine whether a non-random arboreal ant assemblage, such as an ant mosaic, exists in the rainforest on the Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar. In most tropical rainforests, very populous colonies of territorially dominant arboreal ant species defend absolute territories distributed in a mosaic pattern. Among the 29 ant species recorded, only nine had colonies large enough to be considered potentially territorially dominant; the remaining species had smaller colonies and were considered non-dominant. Nevertheless, the null-model analyses used to examine the spatial structure of their assemblages did not reveal the existence of an ant mosaic. Inland, up to 44% of the trees were devoid of dominant arboreal ants, something not reported in other studies. While two Crematogaster species were not associated with one another, Brachymyrmex cordemoyi was positively associated with Technomyrmex albipes, which is considered an invasive species-a non-indigenous species that has an adverse ecological effect on the habitats it invades. The latter two species and Crematogaster ranavalonae were mutually exclusive. On the other hand, all of the trees in the coastal transect and at least 4 km of coast were occupied by T. albipes, and were interconnected by columns of workers. Technomyrmex albipes workers collected from different trees did not attack each other during confrontation tests, indicating that this species has formed a supercolony along the coast. Yet interspecific aggressiveness did occur between T. albipes and Crematogaster ranavalonae, a native species which is likely territorially dominant based on our intraspecific confrontation tests. These results suggest that the Masoala rainforest is threatened by a potential invasion by T. albipes, and that the penetration of this species further inland might be facilitated by the low density of native, territorially dominant arboreal

  5. Fungal communities in the garden chamber soils of leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Andre; Passarini, Michel R Z; Ferro, Milene; Nagamoto, Nilson S; Forti, Luiz C; Bacci, Maurício; Sette, Lara D; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2014-11-01

    Leaf-cutting ants modify the properties of the soil adjacent to their nests. Here, we examined whether such an ant-altered environment impacts the belowground fungal communities. Fungal diversity and community structure of soil from the fungus garden chambers of Atta sexdens rubropilosa and Atta bisphaerica, two widespread leaf-cutting ants in Brazil, were determined and compared with non-nest soils. Culture-dependent methods revealed similar species richness but different community compositions between both types of soils. Penicillium janthinellum and Trichoderma spirale were the prevalent isolates in fungus chamber soils and non-nest soils, respectively. In contrast to cultivation methods, analyses of clone libraries based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region indicated that richness of operational taxonomic units significantly differed between soils of the fungus chamber and non-nest soils. FastUnifrac analyses based on ITS sequences further revealed a clear distinction in the community structure between both types of soils. Plectania milleri and an uncultured Clavariaceae fungus were prevalent in fungus chamber soils and non-nest soils, respectively. FastUnifrac analyses also revealed that fungal community structures of soil from the garden chambers markedly differed among ant species. Our findings suggest that leaf-cutting ants affect fungal communities in the soil from the fungus chamber in comparison to non-nest soils.

  6. The distribution and evolutionary history of Wolbachia infection in native and introduced populations of the invasive argentine ant (Linepithema humile).

    PubMed

    Tsutsui, Neil D; Kauppinen, Seth N; Oyafuso, Alain F; Grosberg, Richard K

    2003-11-01

    Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally transmitted bacterium that often alters the life history of its insect host to maximize transmission to subsequent generations. Here we report on the frequency and distribution of Wolbachia infection in a widespread invasive species, the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). We screened 1175 individual Argentine ants from 89 nests on five continents and several islands, including numerous locations in both the native (South American) and introduced ranges. We detected Wolbachia in four of 11 native populations, but only one of 21 introduced populations was infected. In the Argentine ant's native range, the distribution of Wolbachia supergroups A and B was nonoverlapping. By coupling infection frequency data with behaviourally defined colony boundaries, we show that infected and uninfected colonies are often adjacent to one another, supporting the proposition that little female-mediated gene flow occurs among Argentine ant colonies. We also conduct a phylogenetic analysis, and show that the Wolbachia infecting both native and introduced populations of Argentine ants belong to two lineages that appear to be specialized on infecting New World ants. One other lineage of Wolbachia has undergone frequent, recent episodes of horizontal transmission between distantly related, introduced insect hosts.

  7. Intercolony aggression within and among local populations of the invasive ant, Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in coastal Maine.

    PubMed

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

    2007-02-01

    Myrmica rubra L. was introduced into New England in the early 20th century, and at present, has a patchy distribution in parts of northeastern North America, including records from 31 communities in Maine. M. rubra is highly polygynous, and colonies reproduce vegetatively, forming dense local populations where conditions are favorable. Using mobile nests and baited arenas in a series of field aggression bioassays, we tested patterns of internest tolerance within and among local populations on Mt. Desert Island, ME. We found that foragers originating from fragments of the same colony or from neighboring nests retained a high level of intraspecific tolerance over several months, whereas significant intercolony aggression among workers was present between colonies within the same local patch separated by approximately 10 m. Within populations, aggression score values were found to increase linearly with internest distance within a site. Aggression was highest between colonies from spatially different populations on the island and was higher still when nests were assayed against colonies at an off-island site 70 km away in Castine, ME. These data strongly suggest a multicolonial organization within and among local populations of M. rubra in parts of its introduced range. These findings contradict the loss of intraspecific aggression and unicolonial social structure over large geographic areas that have previously been observed in other invasive ant species, particularly Linepithema humile Mayr.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. Field suppression of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a tropical fruit orchard in Hawaii.

    PubMed

    Souza, Evann; Follett, Peter A; Price, Don K; Stacy, Elizabeth A

    2008-08-01

    The little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is an invasive ant that forms supercolonies when it successfully invades new areas. W. auropunctata was first reported in Hawaii in 1999, and it has since invaded a variety of agricultural sites, including nurseries, orchards, and pastures. Amdro (hydramethylnon; in bait stations), Esteem (pyriproxyfen; broadcast bait), and Conserve (spinosad; ground spray) were tested for their efficacy against W. auropunctata in a rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum L. and mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana L., orchard by making treatments every 2 wk for 16 wk. Relative estimates of ant numbers in plots was determined by transect sampling using peanut butter-baited sticks. Significant treatment effects were observed on weeks 13-17, with reductions in ant counts occurring in the Amdro and Esteem treatments. During this period, the reduction in ant numbers from pretreatment counts averaged 47.1 and 92.5% in the Amdro and Esteem plots, respectively, whereas ant numbers in the untreated control plots increased by 185.9% compared with pretreatment counts. Conserve did not cause a reduction in ant counts as applied in our experiment. No plots for any of the treatments achieved 100% reduction. Pseudococcidae were counted on branch terminals at 4-wk intervals. The two predominant species, Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell) and Nipaecoccus viridis (Newstead) were significantly lower in the Amdro and Esteem treatments on week 16 compared with controls. Many W. auropunctata were found nesting in protected sites in the orchard trees, which may have compromised the ground-based control methods. Absolute density estimates from shallow core samples taken from the orchard floor indicated the W. auropunctata supercolony exceeded 244 million ants and 22.7 kg wet weight per ha.

  18. 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

  19. Ant-caterpillar antagonism at the community level: interhabitat variation of tritrophic interactions in a neotropical savanna.

    PubMed

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

    Ant foraging on foliage can substantially affect how phytophagous insects use host plants and represents a high predation risk for caterpillars, which are important folivores. Ant-plant-herbivore interactions are especially pervasive in cerrado savanna due to continuous ant visitation to liquid food sources on foliage (extrafloral nectaries, insect honeydew). While searching for liquid rewards on plants, aggressive ants frequently attack or kill insect herbivores, decreasing their numbers. Because ants vary in diet and aggressiveness, their effect on herbivores also varies. Additionally, the differential occurrence of ant attractants (plant and insect exudates) on foliage produces variable levels of ant foraging within local floras and among localities. Here, we investigate how variation of ant communities and of traits among host plant species (presence or absence of ant attractants) can change the effect of carnivores (predatory ants) on herbivore communities (caterpillars) in a cerrado savanna landscape. We sampled caterpillars and foliage-foraging ants in four cerrado localities (70-460 km apart). We found that: (i) caterpillar infestation was negatively related with ant visitation to plants; (ii) this relationship depended on local ant abundance and species composition, and on local preference by ants for plants with liquid attractants; (iii) this was not related to local plant richness or plant size; (iv) the relationship between the presence of ant attractants and caterpillar abundance varied among sites from negative to neutral; and (v) caterpillars feeding on plants with ant attractants are more resistant to ant predation than those feeding on plants lacking attractants. Liquid food on foliage mediates host plant quality for lepidopterans by promoting generalized ant-caterpillar antagonism. Our study in cerrado shows that the negative effects of generalist predatory ants on herbivores are detectable at a community level, affecting patterns of abundance and

  20. Evolution alters the consequences of invasions in experimental communities.

    PubMed

    Faillace, Cara A; Morin, Peter J

    2016-11-21

    Evolution has the capacity to alter the course of biological invasions, although such changes remain mostly unexplored by experiments. Integrating evolution into studies of invasions is important, because species traits can potentially evolve in ways that either moderate or exacerbate the impacts of invasions. We have assessed whether species evolved during experimental invasions by comparing the performance of founder populations and their potentially evolved descendants in communities of ciliates and rotifers. Residents (analogous to native species) that have previous experience with invaders consistently reduced the performance of naive invaders, supporting the emergence of increased biotic resistance as one consequence of evolution during invasions. Experienced invaders exhibited both increased and decreased performance depending on the invader species considered. Through its influence on performance and species abundance, evolution also changed community composition during the course of invasions. The idiosyncratic patterns of evolutionary changes in invading and resident species complicate predictions about the long-term consequences of invasions from initial post-invasion dynamics.

  1. Higher Ant Diversity in Native Vegetation Than in Stands of the Invasive Arundo, Arundo donax L., Along the Rio Grande Basin in Texas, USA.

    PubMed

    Osbrink, Weste LA; Goolsby, John A; Thomas, Don B; Mejorado, Alba; Showler, Allan T; Pérez De León, Adalberto

    2017-01-01

    Our hypothesis was that there will be greater ant biodiversity in heterogeneous native vegetation compared with Arundo stands. Changes in ant biodiversity due to Arundo invasion may be one of the ecological changes in the landscape that facilitates the invasion of cattle fever ticks from Mexico where they are endemic. Ants collected in pitfall traps were identified and compared between native vegetation and stands of Arundo, Arundo donax L., monthly for a year at 10 locations. A total of 82 752 ants representing 28 genera and 76 species were collected. More ants were collected in the native vegetation which also had greater species richness and biological diversity than ants collected from Arundo stands. It is suggested that the greater heterogeneous nature of native vegetation provided greater and more predictable nourishment in the form of nectars and more abundant arthropod prey when compared with Arundo stands.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Ant-mediated ecosystem processes are driven by trophic community structure but mainly by the environment.

    PubMed

    Salas-Lopez, Alex; Mickal, Houadria; Menzel, Florian; Orivel, Jérôme

    2017-01-01

    The diversity and functional identity of organisms are known to be relevant to the maintenance of ecosystem processes but can be variable in different environments. Particularly, it is uncertain whether ecosystem processes are driven by complementary effects or by dominant groups of species. We investigated how community structure (i.e., the diversity and relative abundance of biological entities) explains the community-level contribution of Neotropical ant communities to different ecosystem processes in different environments. Ants were attracted with food resources representing six ant-mediated ecosystem processes in four environments: ground and vegetation strata in cropland and forest habitats. The exploitation frequencies of the baits were used to calculate the taxonomic and trophic structures of ant communities and their contribution to ecosystem processes considered individually or in combination (i.e., multifunctionality). We then investigated whether community structure variables could predict ecosystem processes and whether such relationships were affected by the environment. We found that forests presented a greater biodiversity and trophic complementarity and lower dominance than croplands, but this did not affect ecosystem processes. In contrast, trophic complementarity was greater on the ground than on vegetation and was followed by greater resource exploitation levels. Although ant participation in ecosystem processes can be predicted by means of trophic-based indices, we found that variations in community structure and performance in ecosystem processes were best explained by environment. We conclude that determining the extent to which the dominance and complementarity of communities affect ecosystem processes in different environments requires a better understanding of resource availability to different species.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Aquatic plant community invasibility and scale-dependent patterns in native and invasive species richness.

    PubMed

    Capers, Robert S; Selsky, Roslyn; Bugbee, Gregory J; White, Jason C

    2007-12-01

    Invasive species richness often is negatively correlated with native species richness at the small spatial scale of sampling plots, but positively correlated in larger areas. The pattern at small scales has been interpreted as evidence that native plants can competitively exclude invasive species. Large-scale patterns have been understood to result from environmental heterogeneity, among other causes. We investigated species richness patterns among submerged and floating-leaved aquatic plants (87 native species and eight invasives) in 103 temperate lakes in Connecticut (northeastern USA) and found neither a consistently negative relationship at small (3-m2) scales, nor a positive relationship at large scales. Native species richness at sampling locations was uncorrelated with invasive species richness in 37 of the 60 lakes where invasive plants occurred; richness was negatively correlated in 16 lakes and positively correlated in seven. No correlation between native and invasive species richness was found at larger spatial scales (whole lakes and counties). Increases in richness with area were uncorrelated with abiotic heterogeneity. Logistic regression showed that the probability of occurrence of five invasive species increased in sampling locations (3 m2, n = 2980 samples) where native plants occurred, indicating that native plant species richness provided no resistance against invasion. However, the probability of three invasive species' occurrence declined as native plant density increased, indicating that density, if not species richness, provided some resistance with these species. Density had no effect on occurrence of three other invasive species. Based on these results, native species may resist invasion at small spatial scales only in communities where density is high (i.e., in communities where competition among individuals contributes to community structure). Most hydrophyte communities, however, appear to be maintained in a nonequilibrial condition by

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Estimation of the number of founders of an invasive pest insect population: the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA

    PubMed Central

    Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, D. DeWayne

    2008-01-01

    Determination of the number of founders responsible for the establishment of invasive populations is important for developing biologically based management practices, predicting the invasive potential of species, and making inferences about ecological and evolutionary processes. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a major invasive pest insect first introduced into the USA from its native South American range in the mid-1930s. We use data from diverse genetic markers surveyed in the source population and the USA to estimate the number of founders of this introduced population. Data from different classes of nuclear markers (microsatellites, allozymes, sex-determination locus) and mitochondrial DNA are largely congruent in suggesting that 9–20 unrelated mated queens comprised the initial founder group to colonize the USA at Mobile, Alabama. Estimates of founder group size based on expanded samples from throughout the southern USA were marginally higher than this, consistent with the hypothesis of one or more secondary introductions of the ant into the USA. The rapid spread and massive population build-up of introduced S. invicta occurred despite the loss of substantial genetic variation associated with the relatively small invasive propagule size, a pattern especially surprising in light of the substantial genetic load imposed by the loss of variation at the sex-determination locus. PMID:18577505

  14. Ecosystem-Wide Morphological Structure of Leaf-Litter Ant Communities along a Tropical Latitudinal Gradient

    PubMed Central

    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 20o 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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 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.

  16. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Granger, Brian R.; Chang, Yi -Chien; Wang, Yan; ...

    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

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

    PubMed

    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 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Effect of Irradiation on Queen Survivorship and Reproduction in the Invasive Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a Proposed Phytosanitary Irradiation Treatment for Ants.

    PubMed

    Follett, Peter A; Porcel, Sol; Calcaterra, Luis A

    2016-12-01

    We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to identify a dose that prevents reproduction. Virgin or fertile queens were collected from Santa Fe and Formosa provinces in Argentina and reared in the laboratory in microcolonies. Virgin queens were irradiated at 0 (control), 70, 90, 120, or 150 Gy, and fertile queens were irradiated at 0, 60, 125, and 190 Gy, and then followed for 11 wk in the microcolonies to evaluate survival and reproduction. Virgin queens lay trophic eggs that do not hatch, whereas fertile queens lay eggs that hatch and develop into brood. In general, queen oviposition and survival decreased with increasing irradiation dose. For virgin queens, no eggs were laid by irradiated queens after the third week, whereas the control queens continued laying eggs throughout the 11-wk experiment. For fertile queens, only one larva and no pupae was observed in the 60 Gy treatment and no larvae or pupae were observed in the 125 and 190 Gy treatments, whereas a total of 431 larvae and 83 pupae were produced by untreated control queens during 11 wks. Survivorship of virgin and fertile queens was similarly reduced by irradiation treatment. These results with S. invicta are consistent with previous findings for three other invasive ants, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger), Pheidole megacephala (F.), and Linephithema humile (Mayr), that are hitchhiker pests on fresh horticultural commodities. A radiation dose of 150 Gy is proposed as a phytosanitary treatment to prevent reproduction in ants. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2016. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.

  1. Anthropogenic impacts in protected areas: assessing the efficiency of conservation efforts using Mediterranean ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Angulo, Elena; Boulay, Raphaël; Ruano, Francisca; Tinaut, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    In countries with high levels of urbanization, protected areas are often subject to human disturbance. In addition to dealing with fragmentation, land managers also have to confront the loss of characteristic ecosystems due to biotic homogenization, which is the increasing similarity of species assemblages among geographically separate regions. Using ants as a model system, we explored whether anthropogenic factors negatively affect biodiversity of protected areas of a regional network. We first analysed the effect of fragmentation and human activity on ant biodiversity within protected areas. Secondly, we tested whether homogenization could occur among protected areas. We sampled 79 plots in the most common habitats of 32 protected areas in southern Spain and calculated ant community richness and diversity indices, endemic richness, and Bray–Curtis similarity indices (between pairs of plots). We related these indices with patch fragmentation and human disturbance variables, taking into account environmental, spatial and landscape covariates. We used ANOSIM to test for differences between similarity indices, specifically among levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Species richness was positively correlated with the distance from the border of the protected areas and the number of endemic species was negatively correlated with the degree of fragmentation. Ant communities were similar within each protected area but differed across regions. Human disturbance was not correlated with community similarity among sampling points. Our approach suggests how the ability of European protected areas to sustain biodiversity is limited because they remain susceptible to anthropogenic impacts. Although ant communities maintained their biological distinctiveness, we reveal how fragmentation within protected areas is important for community richness and endemism maintenance. PMID:27994978

  2. Linking richness, community variability, and invasion resistance with patch size.

    PubMed

    Dunstan, Piers K; Johnson, Craig R

    2006-11-01

    The influence of community dynamics on the success or failure of an invasion is of considerable interest. What has not been explored is the influence of patch size on the outcomes of invasions for communities with the same species pool. Here we use an empirically validated spatial model of a marine epibenthic community to examine the effects of patch size on community variability, species richness, invasion, and the relationships between these variables. We found that the qualitative form of the relationship between community variability and species richness is determined by the size of the model patch. In small patches, variability decreases with species richness, but beyond a critical patch size, variability increases with increasing richness. This occurs because in large patches large, long-lived colonies attain sufficient size to minimize mortality and dominate the community, leading to decreased species richness and community variability. This mechanism cannot operate on smaller patches where the size of colonies is limited by the patch size and mortality is high irrespective of species identity. Further, invasion resistance is strongly correlated with community variability. Thus, the relationship between species richness and invasion resistance is also determined by patch size. These patterns are generated largely by an inverse relationship between colony size and mortality, and they depend on the spatial nature and patch size of the community. Our results suggest that a continuum of possible relationships can exist between species richness, community variability, invasion resistance, and area. These relationships are emergent behaviors generated by the individual properties of the particular component species of a community.

  3. 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. Copyright © 2015 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

  4. Imidacloprid seed treatments affect individual ant behavior and community structure but not egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield.

    PubMed

    Penn, Hannah J; Dale, Andrew M

    2017-08-01

    Neonicotinoid seed treatments are under scrutiny because of their variable efficacy against crop pests and for their potential negative impacts on non-target organisms. Ants provide important biocontrol services in agroecosystems and can be indicators of ecosystem health. This study tested for effects of exposure to imidacloprid plus fungicide or fungicide-treated seeds on individual ant survival, locomotion and foraging capabilities and on field ant community structure, pest abundance, ant predation and yield. Cohorts of ants exposed to either type of treated seed had impaired locomotion and a higher incidence of morbidity and mortality but no loss of foraging capacity. In the field, we saw no difference in ant species richness, regardless of seed treatment. Blocks with imidacloprid did have higher species evenness and diversity, probably owing to variable effects of the insecticide on different ant species, particularly Tetramorium caespitum. Ant predation on sentinel eggs, pest abundance and soybean growth and yield were similar in the two treatments. Both seed treatments had lethal and sublethal effects on ant individuals, and the influence of imidacloprid seed coating in the field was manifested in altered ant community composition. Those effects, however, were not strong enough to affect egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield in field blocks. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  5. Single-queen introductions characterize regional and local invasions by the facultatively clonal little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Mikheyev, A S; Bresson, S; Conant, P

    2009-07-01

    Clonal reproduction may facilitate the spread of invasive species by reducing the minimum population size necessary for successful establishment. We used microsatellite markers to reconstruct the composition of founding populations in two regional (Central Africa and Hawaii) and 23 local (near a Gabonese oilfield) invasions of the facultatively parthenogenetic little fire ant. Central Africa had a single dominant queen clone, which appears to have initiated the regional infestation, and then produced numerous other clones by rare sexual reproduction. This interpretation of the data was also supported by the genotype of a worker from the first collection in Africa (Gabon 1913). We found only a single queen clone in Hawaii, likewise indicating a single-clone introduction, most likely from an earlier infestation in Florida. Single-clone introductions also gave rise to the vast majority (92%) of local infestations at our oilfield study site. These results suggest the unusual, largely clonal, reproductive strategy of the little fire ant may enhance its success as an invasive species. However, the occasional sexual production of novel genotypes after the initial introduction may provide genetic flexibility that overcomes shortcomings of pure clonality.

  6. Clustering of ant communities and indicator species analysis using self-organizing maps.

    PubMed

    Park, Sang-Hyun; Hosoishi, Shingo; Ogata, Kazuo; Kuboki, Yuzuru

    2014-09-01

    To understand the complex relationships that exist between ant assemblages and their habitats, we performed a self-organizing map (SOM) analysis to clarify the interactions among ant diversity, spatial distribution, and land use types in Fukuoka City, Japan. A total of 52 species from 12 study sites with nine land use types were collected from 1998 to 2012. A SOM was used to classify the collected data into three clusters based on the similarities between the ant communities. Consequently, each cluster reflected both the species composition and habitat characteristics in the study area. A detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) corroborated these findings, but removal of unique and duplicate species from the dataset in order to avoid sampling errors had a marked effect on the results; specifically, the clusters produced by DCA before and after the exclusion of specific data points were very different, while the clusters produced by the SOM were consistent. In addition, while the indicator value associated with SOMs clearly illustrated the importance of individual species in each cluster, the DCA scatterplot generated for species was not clear. The results suggested that SOM analysis was better suited for understanding the relationships between ant communities and species and habitat characteristics.

  7. Effects of harvester ant (Messor spp.) activity on soil properties and microbial communities in a Negev Desert ecosystem

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Harvester ants (Messor spp.) function as an essential link between aboveground resources and belowground biota such as the microbial community. We examined changes in soil microbial biomass and functional diversity resulting from harvester ant (Messor spp.) activity in the Negev Desert, Israel. Abi...

  8. Effects of harvesting treatments on the ant community in a Mississippi River bottomland hardwood forest in west-central Mississippi

    Treesearch

    Lynne C. Thompson; David M. General; Brian Roy Lockhart

    2010-01-01

    We assessed effects that harvesting treatments had on the ant community in a Mississippi River bottomland hardwood forest in west-central MS. Ants were collected on Pittman Island using pitfall traps from July to November in 1996, 1997, and 2000. The forest received three replicated harvesting treatments in 1995, including: 1) uncut controls (check), 2) selection...

  9. 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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. Mutualistic fungus promotes plant invasion into diverse communities.

    PubMed

    Rudgers, Jennifer A; Mattingly, W Brett; Koslow, Jennifer M

    2005-07-01

    Reducing the biological diversity of a community may decrease its resistance to invasion by exotic species. Manipulative experiments typically support this hypothesis but have focused mainly on one trophic level (i.e., primary producers). To date, we know little about how positive interactions among species may influence the relationship between diversity and invasibility, which suggests a need for research that addresses the question: under what conditions does diversity affect resistance to invasion? We used experimental manipulations of both plant diversity and the presence of an endophytic fungus to test whether a fungal mutualist of an invasive grass species (Lolium arundinaceum) switches the relationship between plant community diversity and resistance to invasion. Association with the fungal endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum) increased the ability of L. arundinaceum to invade communities with greater species diversity. In the absence of the endophyte, the initial diversity of the community significantly reduced the establishment of L. arundinaceum. However, establishment was independent of initial diversity in the presence of the endophyte. Fungal symbionts, like other key species, are often overlooked in studies of plant diversity, yet their presence may explain variation among studies in the effect of diversity on resistance to invasion.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-23

    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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Development of genetic markers distinguishing two invasive fire ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their hybrids

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Three SNP markers were developed that are completely diagnostic in distinguishing the two fire ant species Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri. Although a fourth marker we developed is not fully diagnostic, it is still useful given one of the variants is confined to S. richteri. Joint use of these ma...

  20. 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

  1. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, Edward G; Plowes, Robert M; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2012-07-01

    1. Habitat disturbance and species invasions interact in natural systems, making it difficult to isolate the primary cause of ecosystem degradation. A general understanding requires case studies of how disturbance and invasion interact across a variety of ecosystem - invasive species combinations. 2. Dramatic losses in ant diversity followed the invasion of central Texas by red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). However, recent manipulative studies in Florida revealed no effect on ant diversity following the removal of S. invicta from a disturbed pasture habitat, but moderate loss of diversity associated with their introduction into undisturbed habitat and no invasion occurred without disturbance. Thus, the importance of S. invicta in driving diversity loss and its ability to invade undisturbed systems is unresolved. 3. We examine the distribution and abundance of a large monogyne S. invicta population and its association with the co-occurring ant assemblage at a site in south Texas close to the aridity tolerance limit of S. invicta. 4. We document that moisture modulates S. invicta densities. Further, soil disturbing habitat manipulations greatly increase S. invicta population densities. However, S. invicta penetrates all habitats regardless of soil disturbance history. In contrast, controlled burns depress S. invicta densities. 5. In habitats where S. invicta is prevalent, it completely replaces native fire ants. However, S. invicta impacts native ants as a whole less strongly. Intriguingly, native ants responded distinctly to S. invicta in different environments. In wet, undisturbed environments, high S. invicta abundance disrupts the spatial structure of the ant assemblage by increasing clumping and is associated with reduced species density, while in dry-disturbed habitats, sites with high S. invicta abundance possess high numbers of native species. Analyses of co-occurrence indicate that reduced species density in wet

  2. 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.

  3. Invasion of an intact plant community: the role of population versus community level diversity.

    PubMed

    Chang, Cynthia C; Smith, Melinda D

    2012-04-01

    To improve the understanding of how native plant diversity influences invasion, we examined how population and community diversity may directly and indirectly be related to invasion in a natural field setting. Due to the large impact of the dominant C(4) grass species (Andropogon gerardii) on invasion resistance of tallgrass prairie, we hypothesized that genetic diversity and associated traits within a population of this species would be more strongly related to invasion than diversity or traits of the rest of the community. We added seeds of the exotic invasive C(4) grass, A. bladhii, to 1-m(2) plots in intact tallgrass prairie that varied in genetic diversity of A. gerardii and plant community diversity, but not species richness. We assessed relationships among genetic diversity and traits of A. gerardii, community diversity, community aggregated traits, resource availability, and early season establishment and late-season persistence of the invader using structural equation modeling (SEM). SEM models suggested that community diversity likely enhanced invasion indirectly through increasing community aggregated specific leaf area as a consequence of more favorable microclimatic conditions for seedling establishment. In contrast, neither population nor community diversity was directly or indirectly related to late season survival of invasive seedlings. Our research suggests that while much of diversity-invasion research has separately focused on the direct effects of genetic and species diversity, when taken together, we find that the role of both levels of diversity on invasion resistance may be more complex, whereby effects of diversity may be primarily indirect via traits and vary depending on the stage of invasion.

  4. Army ant invasions reveal phylogeographic processes across the Isthmus of Panama.

    PubMed

    Brady, Seán G

    2017-02-01

    Female army ants cannot fly, making them very poor dispersers across water barriers. This dependence on terrestrial corridors motivated the investigation by Winston et al. (), published in this issue of Molecular Ecology, into the role of Panamanian isthmus formation in the diversification of Eciton army ants. Complete closure of this isthmus occurred around three million years ago (3 Ma), but it has also been hypothesized that earlier, temporary land connections facilitated additional colonization events between South and Central America over the past 13 million years or more. The phylogenomic and population genomic analyses by Winston et al. () uncovered multiple incursions of Eciton lineages into Central America between 4 and 7 Ma. Their study contributes to a growing body of evidence arguing that transitory land bridges predating 3 Ma supported substantial intercontinental biotic exchange. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. 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.

  6. Genetic structure, nestmate recognition and behaviour of two cryptic species of the invasive big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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.Synthesis and

  10. 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

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

    Treesearch

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

    2014-01-01

    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...

  12. Combined effects of temperature and interspecific competition on the mortality of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus: A laboratory study.

    PubMed

    Frizzi, Filippo; Bartalesi, Viola; Santini, Giacomo

    2017-04-01

    The invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, is a dominant species due to its capacity to form large supercolonies. This species was assumed to possess a wide thermal niche since it is able to adapt to cold climates, which is a factor that boosted its rapid expansion from south to many central-northern European Countries. However, the effect of variations in environmental temperatures on its competitive ability against other species has still not been investigated. In this paper, we analyzed the change in survival ability of Lasius neglectus during encounters with two Mediterranean dominant ants (Crematogaster scutellaris and Tapinoma nigerrimum) at four different temperatures (15, 20, 25 and 30°C). Firstly, control tests were performed to provide the baseline survival ability of the three species at different temperatures. Secondly, competition tests were carried out at the same temperatures. Lasius neglectus survival was negatively affected by high temperature (30°C) in control tests, and this impairment was much more pronounced in competition tests. On the contrary, the two opponent species were only marginally affected by temperatures in control tests. Crematogaster scutellaris was a better competitor than L. neglectus, particularly at high temperatures. Tapinoma nigerrimum was a weaker competitor and was always outcompeted by L. neglectus, particularly at low temperatures. This result could suggest that L. neglectus is at a disadvantage during interspecific encounters when temperatures are high and that the predicted future increase in environmental temperatures may potentially enhance this handicap.

  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. 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.

  15. Propagule pressure and colony social organization are associated with the successful invasion and rapid range expansion of fire ants in China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chin-Cheng; Ascunce, Marina S; Luo, Li-Zhi; Shao, Jing-Guo; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2012-02-01

    We characterized patterns of genetic variation in populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China using mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite loci to test predictions as to how propagule pressure and subsequent dispersal following establishment jointly shape the invasion success of this ant in this recently invaded area. Fire ants in Wuchuan (Guangdong Province) are genetically differentiated from those found in other large infested areas of China. The immediate source of ants in Wuchuan appears to be somewhere near Texas, which ranks first among the southern USA infested states in the exportation of goods to China. Most colonies from spatially distant, outlying areas in China are genetically similar to one another and appear to share a common source (Wuchuan, Guangdong Province), suggesting that long-distance jump dispersal has been a prevalent means of recent spread of fire ants in China. Furthermore, most colonies at outlier sites are of the polygyne social form (featuring multiple egg-laying queens per nest), reinforcing the important role of this social form in the successful invasion of new areas and subsequent range expansion following invasion. Several analyses consistently revealed characteristic signatures of genetic bottlenecks for S. invicta populations in China. The results of this study highlight the invasive potential of this pest ant, suggest that the magnitude of international trade may serve as a predictor of propagule pressure and indicate that rates and patterns of subsequent range expansion are partly determined by the interplay between species traits and the trade and transportation networks. © Published 2011. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  16. Effect of experimental small-scale spatial heterogeneity on resource use of a Mediterranean ground-ant community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    M. Luque, Gloria; Reyes López, Joaquín

    2007-07-01

    Small-scale habitat complexity has been shown to influence interspecific competition and resource use in ant communities. Nevertheless, in Mediterranean communities, where temperature variations have a stronger effect on the foraging of subordinate species than competition by dominants, the effect of small-scale habitat complexity on resource use by ants is unknown. We investigated the influence of an experimental spatial mosaic of microhabitats (interior, edge and open) on the dynamics of resource use in a guild of ants of a Mediterranean grassland. We used baits containing one of three food resource types (honey, tuna and seeds) placed in the different microhabitats. Variation in resource use among microhabitats appears to result from differential responses among ant species to small-scale spatial heterogeneity. Analysis of frequency of occurrence, number of foragers and monopoly at baits of ant species indicated that the resource use and recruitment intensity was modified by microhabitat, once the effect of temperature was removed from the analysis. Thus, foraging activity and competitive interactions of ant species were influenced by the different microhabitats apart from temperature, which suggests an effect of small-scale structural complexity. Small-scale spatial variations in structural complexity have an effect in resource use by most ants in this system that is not wholly explained by differences in temperature. Finally, this suggests that microhabitat may be one factor influencing the outcome of the dominance hierarchies.

  17. Timing is everything: priority effects alter community invasibility after disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Symons, Celia C; Arnott, Shelley E

    2014-01-01

    Theory suggests that communities should be more open to the establishment of regional species following disturbance because disturbance may make more resources available to dispersers. However, after an initial period of high invasibility, growth of the resident community may lead to the monopolization of local resources and decreased probability of successful colonist establishment. During press disturbances (i.e., directional environmental change), it remains unclear what effect regional dispersal will have on local community structure if the establishment of later arriving species is affected by early arriving species (i.e., if priority effects are important). To determine the relationship between time-since-disturbance and invasibility, we conducted a fully factorial field mesocosm experiment that exposed tundra zooplankton communities to two emerging stressors – nutrient and salt addition, and manipulated the arrival timing of regional dispersers. Our results demonstrate that invasibility decreases with increasing time-since-disturbance as abundance (nutrient treatments) or species richness (salt treatments) increases in the resident community. Results suggest that the relative timing of dispersal and environmental change will modify the importance of priority effects in determining species composition after a press disturbance. PMID:24634724

  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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  20. Loss of Wolbachia infection during colonisation in the invasive Argentine ant Linepithema humile.

    PubMed

    Reuter, M; Pedersen, J S; Keller, L

    2005-03-01

    WOLBACHIA are maternally inherited bacteria, which are very common in arthropods and nematodes. Wolbachia infection may affect host reproduction through feminisation, parthenogenesis, male-killing, cytoplasmic incompatibility and increased fecundity. Previous studies showing discrepancies between the phylogenies of Wolbachia and its arthropod hosts indicate that infection is frequently lost, but the causes of symbiont extinction have so far remained elusive. Here, we report data showing that colonisation of new habitats is a possible mechanism leading to the loss of infection. The presence and prevalence of Wolbachia were studied in three native and eight introduced populations of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile. The screening shows that the symbiont is common in the three native L. humile populations analysed. In contrast, Wolbachia was detected in only one of the introduced populations. The loss of infection associated with colonisation of new habitats may result from drift (founder effect) or altered selection pressures in the new habitat. Furthermore, a molecular phylogeny based on sequences of the Wolbachia wsp gene indicates that L. humile has been infected by a single strain. Horizontal transmission of the symbiont may be important in ants as suggested by the sequence similarity of strains in the three genera Linepithema, Acromyrmex, and Solenopsis native from South and Central America.

  1. Flexibility in nest density and social structure in invasive populations of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Krista K

    2002-12-01

    The extraordinary success of unicolonial insect invaders has renewed interest in the origins and maintenance of unicoloniality, a social system characterized by the absence of aggressive behavior between individuals of neighboring conspecific nests. In this study, I explore how traits associated with unicoloniality, particularly nest budding and the local exchange of workers between nests, vary across environments. Comparisons of nest characteristics in three introduced populations of Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, reveal considerable variation in nest density and social structure across populations. The population with the highest nest density has smaller, less productive nests and fewer queens per nest than the two populations with low nest densities. Nestmate relatedness is low in all populations, but multi-locus genotype analyses reveal that levels of connectivity vary among populations. In particular, high nest density is associated with higher levels of genotypic similarity between nests. Assignment distances in the two populations with low nest density are similar to a native population, suggesting that the amount of mixing between neighboring nests is shared among some native and introduced populations. Because the study populations are similar in age and genetic diversity, these results suggest that the social structure of L. humile populations depend on the ecological context. Understanding the patterns of expression of unicolonial traits in different environments helps to shed light on the origins of unicoloniality and to explain the success of Argentine ants as invaders.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-01

    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 A(1)-A(4), 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.

  3. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  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. Impacts of Intensive Logging on the Trophic Organisation of Ant Communities in a Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    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

  7. Chronic effects of an invasive species on an animal community.

    PubMed

    Doody, J Sean; Rhind, David; Green, Brian; Castellano, Christina; McHenry, Colin; Clulow, Simon

    2017-08-01

    Invasive species can trigger trophic cascades in animal communities, but published cases involving their removal of top predators are extremely rare. An exception is the invasive cane toad (Rhinella marina) in Australia, which has caused severe population declines in monitor lizards, triggering trophic cascades that facilitated dramatic and sometimes unexpected increases in several prey of the predators, including smaller lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, and birds. Persistence of isolated populations of these predators with a decades-long sympatry with toads suggests the possibility of recovery, but alternative explanations are possible. Confirming predator recovery requires longer-term study of populations with both baseline and immediate post-invasion densities. Previously, we quantified short-term impacts of invasive cane toads on animal communities over seven years at two sites in tropical Australia. Herein, we test the hypothesis that predators have begun to recover by repeating the study 12 yr after the initial toad invasion. The three predatory lizards that experienced 71-97% declines in the short-term study showed no sign of recovery, and indeed a worse fate: two of the three species were no longer detectable in 630 km of river surveys, suggesting local extirpation. Two mesopredators that had increased markedly in the short term due to these predator losses showed diverse responses in the medium term; a small lizard species increased by ~500%, while populations of a snake species showed little change. Our results indicate a system still in ecological turmoil, having not yet reached a "new equilibrium" more than a decade after the initial invasion; predator losses due to this toxic invasive species, and thus downstream effects, were not transient. Given that cane toads have proven too prolific to eradicate or control, we suggest that recovery of impacted predators must occur unassisted by evolutionary means: dispersal into extinction sites from

  8. Relative effects of disturbance on red imported fire ants and native ant species in a longleaf pine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Kirkman, L Katherine; Carroll, C Ronald; Sanders, Nathan J

    2011-06-01

    The degree to which changes in community composition mediate the probability of colonization and spread of non-native species is not well understood, especially in animal communities. High species richness may hinder the establishment of non-native species. Distinguishing between this scenario and cases in which non-native species become established in intact (lacking extensive anthropogenic soil disturbance) communities and subsequently diminish the abundance and richness of native species is challenging on the basis of observation alone. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), an invasive species that occurs throughout much of the southeastern United States, is such an example. Rather than competitively displacing native species, fire ants may become established only in disturbed areas in which native species richness and abundance are already reduced. We used insecticide to reduce the abundance of native ants and fire ants in four experimental plots. We then observed the reassembly and reestablishment of the ants in these plots for 1 year after treatment. The abundance of fire ants in treated plots did not differ from abundance in control plots 1 year after treatment. Likewise, the abundance of native ants increased to levels comparable to those in control plots after 1 year. Our findings suggest that factors other than large reductions in ant abundance and species density (number of species per unit area) may affect the establishment of fire ants and that the response of native ants and fire ants to disturbance can be comparable. ©2011 Society for Conservation Biology.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. [Response of the ant community to attributes of fragments and vegetation in a northeastern Atlantic Rain Forest area, Brazil].

    PubMed

    Gomes, Juliana P; Iannuzzi, Luciana; Leal, Inara R

    2010-01-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the effects of forest fragmentation on ant richness in a landscape of Atlantic Forest in Northeast Brazil. More specifically, the ant richness was related to the attributes of fragments (area and distance from the fragment central point to the edge), landscape (forest cover surrounding the fragments), and tree community (plant density, richness, and percentage of shade tolerant species). The surveys were carried out in 19 fragments located in Alagoas State from October 2007 to March 2008. Samples were collected through a 300 m transect established in the center of each fragment, where 30 1-m² leaf litter samples were collected at 10 m intervals. A total of 146 ant species was collected, which belonged to 42 genera, 24 tribes and nine subfamilies. The attributes of fragments and landscape did not influence ant richness. On the other hand, tree density explained ca. 23% of ant richness. In relation to functional groups, both density and richness of trees explained the richness of general myrmicines (the whole model explained ca. 42% of the variation in this group) and percentage of shade tolerant trees explained the richness of specialist predator ants (30% for the whole model). These results indicate that ant fauna is more influenced by vegetation integrity than by fragment size, distance to edge or forest cover surrounding fragments.

  12. 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

  13. Different degrees of plant invasion significantly affect the richness of the soil fungal community.

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Reduced densities of the invasive wasp, Vespula vulgaris (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), did not alter the invertebrate community composition of Nothofagus forests in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Duthie, Catherine; Lester, Philip J

    2013-04-01

    Invasive common wasps (Vespula vulgaris L.) are predators of invertebrates in Nothofagus forests of New Zealand. We reduced wasp densities by poisoning in three sites over three y. We predicted an increase in the number of invertebrates and a change in the community composition in sites where wasps were poisoned (wasps removed) relative to nearby sites where wasps were not poisoned (wasps maintained). Wasp densities were significantly reduced by an average of 58.9% by poisoning. Despite this reduction in wasp densities, native bush ants (Prolasius advenus Forel) were the only taxa that was significantly influenced by wasp removal. However, contrary to our predictions there were more ants caught in pitfall traps where wasps were maintained. We believe that the higher abundance of these ants is probably because of the scarcity of honeydew in wasp-maintained sites and compensatory foraging by ants in these areas. Otherwise, our results indicated no significant effects of reduced wasp densities on the total number of invertebrates, or the number of invertebrate families, observed in pitfall or Malaise traps. An analysis of community composition (permutational multivariate analysis of variance) also indicated no significant difference between wasp-removed or wasp-maintained communities. The most parsimonious explanation for our results is that although we significantly reduced wasp numbers, we may not have reduced numbers sufficiently or for a sufficiently long period, to see a change or recovery in the community.

  16. 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

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

    Treesearch

    Qinfeng Guo; Amy Symstad

    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...

  18. Predicting community structure of ground-foraging ant assemblages with Markov models of behavioral dominance.

    PubMed

    Wittman, Sarah E; Gotelli, Nicholas J

    2011-05-01

    Although interference competition is a conspicuous component of many animal communities, it is still uncertain whether the competitive ability of a species determines its relative abundance and patterns of association with other species. We used replicated arena tests to quantify behavioral dominance of eight common species of co-occurring ground-foraging ants in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon. We found that behavior recorded in laboratory assays was an accurate representation of a colony's ability to monopolize resources in the field. We used interaction frequencies from the behavioral tests to estimate transition probabilities in a simple Markov chain model to predict patterns of relative abundance in a metacommunity that is dominated by behavioral interactions. We also tested whether behavioral interactions between each pair of species could be used to predict patterns of species co-occurrence. We found that the Markov model did not accurately predict patterns of observed relative abundance on either the local or the regional scale. However, we did detect a significant negative correlation at the local scale in which behaviorally dominant species occupied relatively few baits. Pairwise behavioral data also did not predict species co-occurrence in any site. Although interference competition is a conspicuous process in ant communities, our results suggest that it may not contribute much to patterns of relative abundance and species co-occurrence in the system studied here. However, the negative correlation between behavioral dominance and bait occupancy at the local scale suggests that competition-colonization trade-offs may be important in resource acquisition and persistence of behaviorally subordinate species.

  19. Arthropod communities in a selenium-contaminated habitat with a focus on ant species.

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Hladun, Kristen R; Vindiola, Beatriz G; Trumble, John T

    2017-01-01

    The selenium contamination event that occurred at Kesterson Reservoir (Merced Co., CA) during the 1970-80s is a frequently cited example for the negative effects of contamination on wildlife. Despite the importance of arthropods for ecosystem services and functioning, relatively little information is available as to the impacts of pollution on arthropod community dynamics. We conducted surveys of the arthropod community present at Kesterson Reservoir to assess the impacts of selenium contamination on arthropod diversity, with a focus on ant species richness, composition and density. Trophic groups were compared to determine which arthropods were potentially receiving the greatest selenium exposure. Plant samples were analyzed to determine the selenium content by site and by location within plant. Soil concentrations varied across the study sites, but not across habitat types. Topsoil contained higher levels of selenium compared to core samples. Plants contained similar concentrations of selenium in their leaves, stems and flowers, but flowers contained the greatest range of concentrations. Individuals within the detritivores/decomposers and predators accumulated the greatest concentrations of selenium, whereas nectarivores contained the lowest concentrations. Species composition differed across the sites: Dorymyrmex bicolor was located only at the site containing the greatest soil selenium concentration, but Solenopsis xyloni was found at most sites and was predominant at six of the sites. Selenium concentrations in ants varied by species and collection sites. Nest density was also found to differ across sites, but was not related to soil selenium or any of the habitat variables measured in our study. Selenium was not found to impact species richness, but was a significant variable for the occurrence of two out of the eight native species identified.

  20. Microbial communities associated with the invasive Hawaiian sponge Mycale armata.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guangyi; Yoon, Sang-Hwal; Lefait, Emilie

    2009-03-01

    Microbial symbionts are fundamentally important to their host ecology, but microbial communities of invasive marine species remain largely unexplored. Clone libraries and Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses revealed diverse microbial phylotypes in the invasive marine sponge Mycale armata. Phylotypes were related to eight phyla: Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, Crenarchaeota and Firmicutes, with predominant alphaproteobacterial sequences (>58%). Three Bacterial Phylotype Groups (BPG1--associated only with sequence from marine sponges; BPG2--associated with sponges and other marine organisms and BPG3--potential new phylotypes) were identified in M. armata. The operational taxonomic units (OTU) of cluster BPG2-B, belonging to Rhodobacteraceae, are dominant sequences of two clone libraries of M. armata, but constitute only a small fraction of sequences from the non-invasive sponge Dysidea sp. Six OTUs from M. armata were potential new phylotypes because of their low sequence identity with their reference sequences. Our results suggest that M. armata harbors both sponge-specific phylotypes and bacterial phylotypes from other marine organisms.

  1. Plant resources and colony growth in an invasive ant: the importance of honeydew-producing Hemiptera in carbohydrate transfer across trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Helms, Ken R; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2008-04-01

    Studies have suggested that plant-based nutritional resources are important in promoting high densities of omnivorous and invasive ants, but there have been no direct tests of the effects of these resources on colony productivity. We conducted an experiment designed to determine the relative importance of plants and honeydew-producing insects feeding on plants to the growth of colonies of the invasive ant Solenopsis invicta (Buren). We found that colonies of S. invicta grew substantially when they only had access to unlimited insect prey; however, colonies that also had access to plants colonized by honeydew-producing Hemiptera grew significantly and substantially ( approximately 50%) larger. Our experiment also showed that S. invicta was unable to acquire significant nutritional resources directly from the Hemiptera host plant but acquired them indirectly from honeydew. Honeydew alone is unlikely to be sufficient for colony growth, however, and both carbohydrates abundant in plants and proteins abundant in animals are likely to be necessary for optimal growth. Our experiment provides important insight into the effects of a common tritrophic interaction among an invasive mealybug, Antonina graminis (Maskell), an invasive host grass, Cynodon dactylon L. Pers., and S. invicta in the southeastern United States, suggesting that interactions among these species can be important in promoting extremely high population densities of S. invicta.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Plant diversity, herbivory and resistance of a plant community to invasion in Mediterranean annual communities.

    PubMed

    Prieur-Richard, Anne-Hélène; Lavorel, Sandra; Linhart, Yan B; Dos Santos, Anabelle

    2002-01-01

    Several components of the diversity of plant communities, such as species richness, species composition, number of functional groups and functional composition, have been shown to directly affect the performance of exotic species. Exotics can also be affected by herbivores of the native plant community. However, these two possible mechanisms limiting invasion have never been investigated together. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between plant diversity, herbivory and performance of two annual exotics, Conyza bonariensis and C. canadensis, in Mediterranean annual communities. We wanted to test whether herbivory of these exotics was influenced either by species richness, functional-group richness or functional-group composition. We also studied the relationship between herbivory on the exotic species and their performance. Herbivory increased with increasing species and functional-group richness for both Conyza species. These patterns are interpreted as reflecting a greater number of available herbivore niches in a richer, more complex, plant community. The identities of functional groups also affected Conyza herbivory, which decreased in the presence of Asteraceae or Fabaceae and increased in the presence of Poaceae. Increasing herbivory had consequences for vegetative and demographic parameters of both invasive species: survival, final biomass and net fecundity decreased with increasing herbivory, leading to a loss of reproductive capacity. We conclude that communities characterised by a high number of grass species instead of Asteraceae or Fabaceae may be more resistant to invasion by the two Conyza species, in part due to predation by native herbivores.

  5. Isolated and Community Contexts Produce Distinct Responses by Host Plants to the Presence of Ant-Aphid Interaction: Plant Productivity and Seed Viability

    PubMed Central

    Santiago, Graziele Silva; Zurlo, Luana Fonseca; Ribas, Carla Rodrigues; Carvalho, Rafaela Pereira; Alves, Guilherme Pereira; Carvalho, Mariana Comanucci Silva; Souza, Brígida

    2017-01-01

    Ant-aphid interactions may affect host plants in several ways, however, most studies measure only the amount of fruit and seed produced, and do not test seed viability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effects of the presence of ant-aphid interactions upon host plant productivity and seed viability in two different contexts: isolated and within an arthropod community. For this purpose we tested the hypothesis that in both isolated and community contexts, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction will have a positive effect on fruit and seed production, seed biomass and rate of seed germination, and a negative effect on abnormal seedling rates, in comparison to plants without ants. We performed a field mesocosm experiment containing five treatments: Ant-aphid, Aphid, Community, Ant-free community and Control. We counted fruits and seeds produced by each treatment, and conducted experiments for seed biomass and germinability. We found that in the community context the presence of an ant-aphid interaction negatively affected fruit and seed production. We think this may be because aphid attendance by tending-ants promotes aphid damage to the host plant, but without an affect on seed weight and viability. On the other hand, when isolated, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction positively affected fruit and seed production. These positive effects are related to the cleaning services offered to aphids by tending-ants, which prevent the development of saprophytic fungi on the surface of leaves, which would cause a decrease in photosynthetic rates. Our study is important because we evaluated some parameters of plant fitness that have not been addressed very well by other studies involving the effects of ant-aphid interactions mainly on plants with short life cycles. Lastly, our context dependent approach sheds new light on how ecological interactions can vary among different methods of crop management. PMID:28141849

  6. Isolated and Community Contexts Produce Distinct Responses by Host Plants to the Presence of Ant-Aphid Interaction: Plant Productivity and Seed Viability.

    PubMed

    Canedo-Júnior, Ernesto Oliveira; Santiago, Graziele Silva; Zurlo, Luana Fonseca; Ribas, Carla Rodrigues; Carvalho, Rafaela Pereira; Alves, Guilherme Pereira; Carvalho, Mariana Comanucci Silva; Souza, Brígida

    2017-01-01

    Ant-aphid interactions may affect host plants in several ways, however, most studies measure only the amount of fruit and seed produced, and do not test seed viability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effects of the presence of ant-aphid interactions upon host plant productivity and seed viability in two different contexts: isolated and within an arthropod community. For this purpose we tested the hypothesis that in both isolated and community contexts, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction will have a positive effect on fruit and seed production, seed biomass and rate of seed germination, and a negative effect on abnormal seedling rates, in comparison to plants without ants. We performed a field mesocosm experiment containing five treatments: Ant-aphid, Aphid, Community, Ant-free community and Control. We counted fruits and seeds produced by each treatment, and conducted experiments for seed biomass and germinability. We found that in the community context the presence of an ant-aphid interaction negatively affected fruit and seed production. We think this may be because aphid attendance by tending-ants promotes aphid damage to the host plant, but without an affect on seed weight and viability. On the other hand, when isolated, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction positively affected fruit and seed production. These positive effects are related to the cleaning services offered to aphids by tending-ants, which prevent the development of saprophytic fungi on the surface of leaves, which would cause a decrease in photosynthetic rates. Our study is important because we evaluated some parameters of plant fitness that have not been addressed very well by other studies involving the effects of ant-aphid interactions mainly on plants with short life cycles. Lastly, our context dependent approach sheds new light on how ecological interactions can vary among different methods of crop management.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

    2015-09-24

    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.

  10. 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. © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  11. Species invasion history influences community evolution in a tri-trophic food web model.

    PubMed

    Mougi, Akihiko; Nishimura, Kinya

    2009-08-24

    Recent experimental studies have demonstrated the importance of invasion history for evolutionary formation of community. However, only few theoretical studies on community evolution have focused on such views. We used a tri-trophic food web model to analyze the coevolutionary effects of ecological invasions by a mutant and by a predator and/or resource species of a native consumer species community and found that ecological invasions can lead to various evolutionary histories. The invasion of a predator makes multiple evolutionary community histories possible, and the evolutionary history followed can determine both the invasion success of the predator into the native community and the fate of the community. A slight difference in the timing of an ecological invasion can lead to a greatly different fate. In addition, even greatly different community histories can converge as a result of environmental changes such as a predator trait shift or a productivity change. Furthermore, the changes to the evolutionary history may be irreversible. Our modeling results suggest that the timing of ecological invasion of a species into a focal community can largely change the evolutionary consequences of the community. Our approach based on adaptive dynamics will be a useful tool to understand the effect of invasion history on evolutionary formation of community.

  12. Similar alpha and beta diversity changes in tropical ant communities, comparing savannas and rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Fernando A; Ribas, Carla R; Sobrinho, Tathiana G; Ubaidillah, Rosichon; Schoereder, José H; Clough, Yann; Tscharntke, Teja

    2017-10-04

    Local biodiversity can be expected to be similar worldwide if environmental conditions are similar. Here, we hypothesize that tropical ant communities with different types of regional species pools but at similar habitat types in Brazil and Indonesia show similar diversity patterns at multiple spatial scales, when comparing (1) the relative contribution of alpha and beta diversity to gamma diversity; (2) the number of distinct communities (community differentiation); and (3) the drivers of β-diversity (species replacement or species loss/gain) at each spatial scale. In both countries, rainforests and savannas (biome scale) were represented by three landscapes (landscape scale), each with four transects (site scale) and each transect with 10 pitfall traps (local scale). At the local scale, α-diversity was higher and β-diversity lower than expected from null models. Hence, we observed a high coexistence of species across biomes. The replacement of species seemed the most important factor for β-diversity among sites and among landscapes across biomes. Species sorting, landscape-moderated species distribution and neutral drift are potential mechanisms for the high β-diversity among sites within landscapes. At the biome scale, different evolutionary histories produced great differences in ant community composition, so the replacement of species is, at this scale, the most important driver of beta diversity. According to these key findings, we conclude that distinct regional ant species pools from similar tropical habitat types are similarly constrained across several spatial scales, regardless of the continent considered.

  13. Extrafloral nectaries have a limited effect on the structure of arboreal ant communities in a Neotropical savanna.

    PubMed

    Camarota, Flavio; Powell, Scorr; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L; Priest, Galen; Marquis, Robert J

    2015-01-01

    How environmental contexts shape the strength of species interactions, and their influence on community structure, remains a key focus for the field of community ecology. In particular, the extent to which local competitive interactions impact community structure, and whether this differs across contexts, persists as a general issue that is unresolved across a broad range of animal systems. Studies of arboreal ants have shown that competitive interactions over carbon-rich exudates from extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and homopteran aggregations can have positive and negative effects on the local abundances of individual species. Nevertheless, it is still unclear the extent to which these local effects scale to community-level effects. Here we address the role of food from extrafloral nectaries on the structure of arboreal ant communities in a savanna of central Brazil. We did this with a combination of a diversity survey across tree species with and without EFNs, a repeated survey at times of peak EFN activity, and testing of our survey findings with two experimental manipulations of nectar availability that also provided supplementary nesting cavities. Species richness, but not composition, differed significantly between trees with and without EFNs. However, trees with EFNs had, on average, only 9% more species than those without EFNs. Furthermore, ant species richness did not differ significantly between periods of high and low EFN activity. Although nectar supplementation significantly affected nest occupation rates, this difference was seen solely in. the experiment with a massive supply of nectar and there was no effect on total ant richness or identity of the focal assemblages. Our findings suggest that the effects of extrafloral nectar on the abundances of arboreal ants at local scales do not scale to a strong structuring force at the community level. We suggest that this is most likely due to a lack of specificity of community members for EFN tree species, and

  14. Introduction of Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy in a Community Teaching Hospital

    PubMed Central

    Dali, Dante; Howard, Trent; Mian Hashim, Hanif; Goldman, Charles D.

    2017-01-01

    Background and Objectives: The safety of minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) outside of high-volume centers has not been studied. Therefore, we evaluated our experience with the introduction of MIE in the setting of a community teaching hospital. Methods: A retrospective cohort of all elective esophagectomy patients treated in a community hospital from 2008 through 2015 was evaluated (n = 57; open = 31 vs MIE = 26). Clavien-Dindo complication grades were recorded prospectively. Results: Mean age was 63 ± 11 years (range, 30–83), mean Charlson comorbidity index was 4.5 ± 1.7 and proportion of ASA score ≥3 was 87%. The groups did not differ in age, gender distribution, or comorbidity indices. There were 108 complications observed, including 2 deaths (3.5%, both coronary events). Postoperative complication rate was 77.1% and serious complication rate (grades 3 and 4) was 50.8% in the entire cohort. The rate of serious complications was similar (58% for open vs 42% for MIE group; 2-sided P = .089). MIE operations were longer (342 ± 109 vs 425 ± 74 minutes; P = .001). Length of stay trended toward not being significantly shorter among MIE cases (15 ± 13 vs 12 ± 12 days; P = .071). Logistic regression models including MIE status were not predictive of complications. Conclusions: Introduction of MIE esophagectomy in our community hospital was associated with prolonged operative time, but no detectable adverse outcomes. Length of stay was nonsignificantly shortened by the use of MIS esophagectomy. PMID:28144128

  15. Environmental conditions and community evenness determine the outcome of biological invasion.

    PubMed

    De Roy, Karen; Marzorati, Massimo; Negroni, Andrea; Thas, Olivier; Balloi, Annalisa; Fava, Fabio; Verstraete, Willy; Daffonchio, Daniele; Boon, Nico

    2013-01-01

    Biological invasion is widely studied, however, conclusions on the outcome of this process mainly originate from observations in systems that leave a large number of experimental variables uncontrolled. Here using a fully controlled system consisting of assembled bacterial communities, we evaluate the degree of invasion and the effect on the community functionality in relation to the initial community evenness under specific environmental stressors. We show that evenness influences the level of invasion and that the introduced species can promote functionality under stress. The evenness-invasibility relationship is negative in the absence and neutral in the presence of stress. Under these conditions, the introduced species is able to maintain the functionality of uneven communities. These results indicate that communities, initially having the same genetic background, in the presence of the same invader, react in a different way with respect to invasibility and functionality depending on specific environmental conditions and community evenness.

  16. Fire and invasive exotic plant species in eastern oak communities: an assessment of current knowledge

    Treesearch

    Cynthia D. Huebner

    2006-01-01

    Successful regeneration of oak-dominated communities in the Eastern United States historically requires disturbance such as fire, making them vulnerable to invasion by exotic plants. Little is currently known about the effects of fire on invasive plant species and the effects of invasive plant species on fire regimes of this region. Seventeen common eastern invaders...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25505521

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Weak vs. strong invaders of natural plant communities: Assessing invasibility and impact

    Treesearch

    Yvette K. Ortega; Dean E. Pearson

    2005-01-01

    In response to the profound threat of exotic species to natural systems, much attention has been focused on the biotic resistance hypothesis, which predicts that diverse communities should better resist invasions. While studies of natural communities generally refute this hypothesis, reporting positive relationships between native species diversity and invasibility,...

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Arrival order among native plant functional groups does not affect invasibility of constructed dune communities.

    PubMed

    Mason, T J; French, K; Jolley, D

    2013-10-01

    Different arrival order scenarios of native functional groups to a site may influence both resource use during development and final community structure. Arrival order may then indirectly influence community resistance to invasion. We present a mesocosm experiment of constructed coastal dune communities that monitored biotic and abiotic responses to different arrival orders of native functional groups. Constructed communities were compared with unplanted mesocosms. We then simulated a single invasion event by bitou (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata), a dominant exotic shrub of coastal communities. We evaluated the hypothesis that plantings with simultaneous representation of grass, herb and shrub functional groups at the beginning of the experiment would more completely sequester resources and limit invasion than staggered plantings. Staggered plantings in turn would offer greater resource use and invasion resistance than unplanted mesocosms. Contrary to our expectations, there were few effects of arrival order on abiotic variables for the duration of the experiment and arrival order was unimportant in final community invasibility. All planted mesocosms supported significantly more invader germinants and significantly less invader abundance than unplanted mesocosms. Native functional group plantings may have a nurse effect during the invader germination and establishment phase and a competitive function during the invader juvenile and adult phase. Arrival order per se did not affect resource use and community invasibility in our mesocosm experiment. While grass, herb and shrub functional group plantings will not prevent invasion success in restored communities, they may limit final invader biomass.

  10. A mutualism with a native membracid facilitates pollinator displacement by Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Lach, Lori

    2007-08-01

    The loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services are major threats posed by the spread of alien invasive species. Invasive ants are frequently associated with declines in the diversity of ground-dwelling arthropods but also may affect plants through their attraction to floral nectar and tending of hemipterans. Protea nitida is a tree native to the South African fynbos that hosts a native membracid, Beaufortiana sp., which is tended by ants. Here I compare Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) to native ants in their attraction to P. nitida inflorescences in the presence and absence of the membracid, and their effects on other floral arthropod visitors, seed set, and ovule predation. Argentine ant discovery of inflorescences increased at least 13-fold when membracids were present on the branch, whereas native ant discovery of inflorescences was only doubled by membracid presence at one site in one study year and was unaffected in the other three site-years. Excluding Argentine ants from inflorescences resulted in an increase in several arthropod taxa and potential pollinators; native ant exclusion had no positive effects. Thus the mutualism between Argentine ants and the membracid is facilitating pollinator deterrence by the ants. Though Argentine ants were not associated with a decline in P. nitida seed set or ovule predation, declines in generalist insect pollinators may have ramifications for the 83% of fynbos plants that are insect pollinated. Pitfall traps showed that Argentine ants were not more abundant than native ants in non-invaded sites. Focusing only on abundance on the ground and displacement of ground-dwelling arthropod fauna may lead to an underestimate of the effects of invasive ants on their adopted communities.

  11. 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.

  12. Nutrient enrichment alters impacts of Hydrocotyle vulgaris invasion on native plant communities

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Lin; Quan, Han; Dong, Bi-Cheng; Bu, Xiang-Qi; Li, Lin; Liu, Fu-De; Lei, Guang-Chun; Li, Hong-Li

    2016-01-01

    Nutrients may affect the invasiveness of alien plants and the invasibility of native plant communities. We performed a greenhouse experiment to investigate the interactive effect of invasion by a clonal herb Hydrocotyle vulgaris and nutrient enrichment on biomass and evenness of native plant communities. We established three types of plant communities (H. vulgaris alone, native plant communities without or with H. vulgaris) under low and high levels of nutrients. Native communities consisted of eight native, terrestrial species of three functional groups, i.e. four grasses, two legumes, and two forbs. Invasion of H. vulgaris had no effect on biomass of the native community, the functional groups, or the individual species. High nutrients increased biomass of grasses, but reduced evenness of the community. High nutrients also decreased the competitive effect, and the relative dominance index of H. vulgaris. Therefore, high nutrients reduced the competitive ability of H. vulgaris and enhanced the resistance of the native community to invasion. The results provide a basis for management strategies to control the invasion and spread of H. vulgaris by manipulating resource availability to support native communities. PMID:27995984

  13. Nutrient enrichment alters impacts of Hydrocotyle vulgaris invasion on native plant communities.

    PubMed

    Liu, Lin; Quan, Han; Dong, Bi-Cheng; Bu, Xiang-Qi; Li, Lin; Liu, Fu-De; Lei, Guang-Chun; Li, Hong-Li

    2016-12-20

    Nutrients may affect the invasiveness of alien plants and the invasibility of native plant communities. We performed a greenhouse experiment to investigate the interactive effect of invasion by a clonal herb Hydrocotyle vulgaris and nutrient enrichment on biomass and evenness of native plant communities. We established three types of plant communities (H. vulgaris alone, native plant communities without or with H. vulgaris) under low and high levels of nutrients. Native communities consisted of eight native, terrestrial species of three functional groups, i.e. four grasses, two legumes, and two forbs. Invasion of H. vulgaris had no effect on biomass of the native community, the functional groups, or the individual species. High nutrients increased biomass of grasses, but reduced evenness of the community. High nutrients also decreased the competitive effect, and the relative dominance index of H. vulgaris. Therefore, high nutrients reduced the competitive ability of H. vulgaris and enhanced the resistance of the native community to invasion. The results provide a basis for management strategies to control the invasion and spread of H. vulgaris by manipulating resource availability to support native communities.

  14. Invasion is a community affair: Clandestine followers in the bacterial community associated to green algae, Caulerpa racemosa, track the invasion source.

    PubMed

    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.

  15. 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

  16. Biotic resistance shapes the influence of propagule pressure on invasion success in bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Jones, Matt L; Ramoneda, Josep; Rivett, Damian W; Bell, Thomas

    2017-07-01

    The number of invaders and the timing of invasion are recognized as key determinants of successful invasions. Despite the recognized importance of "propagule pressure," invasion ecology has largely focused on how characteristics of the native community confer invasion resistance. We simultaneously manipulated community composition and invader propagule pressure in microcosm communities of freshwater bacteria. We show that high propagule pressures can be necessary to establish an invader population, but that the influence of propagule pressure depends on the composition of the resident species. In particular, the number of individuals invading was most important to invasion success when one of the species in a resident community is a strong competitor against other species. By contrast, the timing of invasion was most important when communities had lower growth rates. The results suggest that the importance of propagule pressure varies both between communities and within the same community over time, and therefore have implications for the way we understand the relationship between biotic resistance and invasion success. © 2017 The Authors. Ecology, published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of the Ecological Society of America.

  17. A mixed community of actinomycetes produce multiple antibiotics for the fungus farming ant Acromyrmex octospinosus

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Attine ants live in an intensely studied tripartite mutualism with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which provides food to the ants, and with antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria. One hypothesis suggests that bacteria from the genus Pseudonocardia are the sole, co-evolved mutualists of attine ants and are transmitted vertically by the queens. A recent study identified a Pseudonocardia-produced antifungal, named dentigerumycin, associated with the lower attine Apterostigma dentigerum consistent with the idea that co-evolved Pseudonocardia make novel antibiotics. An alternative possibility is that attine ants sample actinomycete bacteria from the soil, selecting and maintaining those species that make useful antibiotics. Consistent with this idea, a Streptomyces species associated with the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus was recently shown to produce the well-known antifungal candicidin. Candicidin production is widespread in environmental isolates of Streptomyces, so this could either be an environmental contaminant or evidence of recruitment of useful actinomycetes from the environment. It should be noted that the two possibilities for actinomycete acquisition are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Results In order to test these possibilities we isolated bacteria from a geographically distinct population of A. octospinosus and identified a candicidin-producing Streptomyces species, which suggests that they are common mutualists of attine ants, most probably recruited from the environment. We also identified a Pseudonocardia species in the same ant colony that produces an unusual polyene antifungal, providing evidence for co-evolution of Pseudonocardia with A. octospinosus. Conclusions Our results show that a combination of co-evolution and environmental sampling results in the diversity of actinomycete symbionts and antibiotics associated with attine ants. PMID:20796277

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile) as Back-Seat Drivers of Localized Ant Decline in Urban Habitats

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. Community structure affects annual grass weed invasion during restoration of a shrub-steppe ecosystem

    Treesearch

    Phil S. Allen; Susan E. Meyer

    2014-01-01

    Ecological restoration of shrub-steppe communities in the western United States is often hampered by invasion of exotic annual grasses during the process. An important question is how to create restored communities that can better resist reinvasion by these weeds. One hypothesis is that communities comprised of species that are functionally similar to the invader will...

  3. Functional Richness and Identity Do Not Strongly Affect Invasibility of Constructed Dune Communities

    PubMed Central

    Mason, Tanya J.; French, Kristine; Jolley, Dianne F.

    2017-01-01

    Biotic effects are often used to explain community structure and invasion resistance. We evaluated the contribution of functional richness and identity to invasion resistance and abiotic resource availability using a mesocosm experiment. We predicted that higher functional richness would confer greater invasion resistance through greater resource sequestration. We also predicted that niche pre-emption and invasion resistance would be higher in communities which included functional groups similar to the invader than communities where all functional groups were distinct from the invader. We constructed communities of different functional richness and identity but maintained constant species richness and numbers of individuals in the resident community. The constructed communities represented potential fore dune conditions following invader control activities along the Australian east coast. We then simulated an invasion event by bitou (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata DC. Norl.), a South African shrub invader. We used the same bitou propagule pressure across all treatments and monitored invasion success and resource availability for 13 months. Contrary to our predictions, we found that functional richness did not mediate the number of bitou individuals or bitou cover and functional identity had little effect on invasion success: there was a trend for the grass single functional group treatment to supress bitou individuals, but this trend was obscured when grasses were in multi functional group treatments. We found that all constructed communities facilitated bitou establishment and suppressed bitou cover relative to unplanted mesocosms. Abiotic resource use was either similar among planted communities, or differences did not relate to invasion success (with the exception of light availability). We attribute invasion resistance to bulk plant biomass across planted treatments rather than their functional group arrangement. PMID:28072854

  4. Functional Richness and Identity Do Not Strongly Affect Invasibility of Constructed Dune Communities.

    PubMed

    Mason, Tanya J; French, Kristine; Jolley, Dianne F

    2017-01-01

    Biotic effects are often used to explain community structure and invasion resistance. We evaluated the contribution of functional richness and identity to invasion resistance and abiotic resource availability using a mesocosm experiment. We predicted that higher functional richness would confer greater invasion resistance through greater resource sequestration. We also predicted that niche pre-emption and invasion resistance would be higher in communities which included functional groups similar to the invader than communities where all functional groups were distinct from the invader. We constructed communities of different functional richness and identity but maintained constant species richness and numbers of individuals in the resident community. The constructed communities represented potential fore dune conditions following invader control activities along the Australian east coast. We then simulated an invasion event by bitou (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata DC. Norl.), a South African shrub invader. We used the same bitou propagule pressure across all treatments and monitored invasion success and resource availability for 13 months. Contrary to our predictions, we found that functional richness did not mediate the number of bitou individuals or bitou cover and functional identity had little effect on invasion success: there was a trend for the grass single functional group treatment to supress bitou individuals, but this trend was obscured when grasses were in multi functional group treatments. We found that all constructed communities facilitated bitou establishment and suppressed bitou cover relative to unplanted mesocosms. Abiotic resource use was either similar among planted communities, or differences did not relate to invasion success (with the exception of light availability). We attribute invasion resistance to bulk plant biomass across planted treatments rather than their functional group arrangement.

  5. Changes in hardwood forest understory plant communities in response to European earthworm invasions.

    PubMed

    Hale, Cindy M; Frelich, Lee E; Reich, Peter B

    2006-07-01

    European earthworms are colonizing earthworm-free northern hardwood forests across North America. Leading edges of earthworm invasion provide an opportunity to investigate the response of understory plant communities to earthworm invasion and whether the species composition of the earthworm community influences that response. Four sugar maple-dominated forest sites with active earthworm invasions were identified in the Chippewa National Forest in north central Minnesota, USA. In each site, we established a 30 x 150 m sample grid that spanned a visible leading edge of earthworm invasion and sampled earthworm populations and understory vegetation over four years. Across leading edges of earthworm invasion, increasing total earthworm biomass was associated with decreasing diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants in two of four study sites, and the abundance and density of tree seedlings decreased in three of four study sites. Sample points with the most diverse earthworm species assemblage, independent of biomass, had the lowest plant diversity. Changes in understory plant community composition were most affected by increasing biomass of the earthworm species Lumbricus rubellus. Where L. rubellus was absent there was a diverse community of native herbaceous plants, but where L. rubellus biomass reached its maximum, the herbaceous-plant community was dominated by Carex pensylvanica and Arisaema triphyllum and, in some cases, was completely absent. Evidence from these forest sites suggests that earthworm invasion can lead to dramatic changes in the understory community and that the nature of these changes is influenced by the species composition of the invading earthworm community.

  6. 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.

  7. Medusahead: Available soil N and microbial communities in native and invasive soils

    Treesearch

    Robert R. Blank; Rene Sforza; Tye Morgan

    2008-01-01

    To better understand why medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) is invasive, we quantified soil N availability and characterized soil microbial communities between native and invasive populations. No consistent differences in soil N mineralization potentials were noted between native medusahead sites in Spain, Turkey, France, and Greece and two...

  8. Chondrilla juncea L.: Post-fire invasiveness in Artimesia tridentata communities of western north America

    Treesearch

    N. L. Shaw; A. L. Hild; C. L. Kinter

    2008-01-01

    Chondrilla juncea L. (Asteraceae), an invasive Eurasian apomictic perennial weed that increases vegetatively and from seed, as spread from the Pacific Northwest, USA into Artemisia tridentata communities of the northern Great Basin. Over the last 150 years this region has been heavily impacted by excessive livestock grazing, the invasion of exotic annual grasses,...

  9. Native plant community composition and genetic diversity associated with long-term weed invasions

    Treesearch

    Brian A. Mealor; Ann L. Hild; Nancy L. Shaw

    2004-01-01

    Many studies have assessed genetic changes in exotic plant species in their native and introduced ranges, but none have focused on genetic variation in native plant species in response to exotic invasion. We examine characteristics of native plant communities within and outside old (>25 year) invasions of Acroptilon repens (Russian knapweed) and Cardaria draba (...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Soil fertility and the impact of exotic invasion on microbial communities in Hawaiian forests.

    PubMed

    Kao-Kniffin, Jenny; Balser, Teri C

    2008-07-01

    Exotic plant invasions into Hawaiian montane forests have altered many important nutrient cycling processes and pools. Across different ecosystems, researchers are uncovering the mechanisms involved in how invasive plants impact the soil microbial community-the primary mediator of soil nutrient cycling. We examined whether the invasive plant, Hedychium gardnerianum, altered microbial community composition in forests dominated by a native tree, Metrosideros polymorpha, under varying soil nutrient limitations and soil fertility properties within forest plots of the Hawaii long-term substrate age gradient (LSAG). Microbial community lipid analysis revealed that when nutrient limitation (as determined by aboveground net primary production [ANPP]) and soil fertility were taken into account, plant species differentially altered soil microbial community composition. Microbial community characteristics differed under invasive and native plants primarily when N or P was added to the older, highly weathered, P-limited soils. Long-term fertilization with N or P at the P-limited site led to a significant increase in the relative abundance of the saprophytic fungal indicator (18:2 omega 6c,9c) under the invasive plant. In the younger, N-limited soils, plant species played a minor role in influencing soil microbial community composition. We found that the general rhizosphere microbial community structure was determined more by soil fertility than by plant species. This study indicates that although the aggressive invasion of a nutrient-demanding, rapidly decomposable, and invasive plant into Hawaiian forests had large impacts on soil microbial decomposers, relatively little impact occurred on the overall soil microbial community structure. Instead, soil nutrient conditions were more important determinants of the overall microbial community structure within Hawaii's montane forests.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Microbial communities in marine sediments modify success of an invasive macrophyte.

    PubMed

    Gribben, Paul E; Nielsen, Shaun; Seymour, Justin R; Bradley, Daniel J; West, Matthew N; Thomas, Torsten

    2017-08-29

    Invasive plants have extensive impacts on ecosystem function and biodiversity globally. Our inability to manage invasive species stems in part from a lack of understanding of the processes that control their successful establishment and spread. To date, studies have largely considered how above-ground processes control native/invasive plant interactions. Emerging research from terrestrial and wetland ecosystems demonstrates that below-ground processes under microbial control can determine the outcome of interactions between native and invasive plants. Whether sediment microbes modify the success of invasive macrophytes in marine ecosystems is untested, despite marine sediment microbes controlling many ecological processes (e.g. nutrient cycling) comparable to those in terrestrial ecosystems. We first show that sediment bacterial communities differ between the native seagrass Zostera capricorni and the invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolia and that those differences relate to functional changes in sulfur cycling between the macrophytes. Second, by experimentally manipulating the microbial communities we show that intact microbial communities in Z. capricorni sediments provide biotic resistance by reducing C. taxifolia fragment growth 119% compared to when they are inactive, and intact microbial communities in C. taxifolia sediments have positive feedbacks by increasing fragment growth 200%. Thus, similar to terrestrial ecosystems, microorganisms appear to indirectly control the success of invasive macrophytes in marine ecosystems.

  17. Musings on the management of Nylanderia fulva Crazy Ants

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Nylanderia fulva is an invasive crazy ant that can inundate landscapes and structures. This invasive ant has been called the Caribbean crazy ant in Florida and the Rasberry [sic] crazy ant in Texas. The species was thought to be Nylanderia pubens or Nylanderia near pubens, in Florida and Texas, resp...

  18. 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)

  19. 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)

  20. Predicting Microstegium vimineum invasion in natural plant communities of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

    Treesearch

    Dean P. Anderson; Monica G. Turner; Scott M. Pearson; Thomas P. Albright; Robert K. Peet; Ann Wieben

    2012-01-01

    Shade-tolerant non-native invasive plant species may make deep incursions into natural plant communities, but detecting such species is challenging because occurrences are often sparse. We developed Bayesian models of the distribution of Microstegium vimineum in natural plant communities of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, USA to address three objectives: (1) to...

  1. Resistance and recovery of soil microbial communities in the face of Alliaria petiolata invasions.

    PubMed

    Lankau, Richard A

    2011-01-01

    Invaders can gain ecological advantages because of their evolutionary novelty, but little is known about how these novel advantages will change over time as the invader and invaded community evolve in response to each other. Invasive plants often gain such an advantage through alteration of soil microbial communities. In soil communities sampled from sites along a gradient of invasion history with Alliaria petiolata, microbial richness tended to decline, but the community's resistance to A. petiolata's effects generally increased with increasing history of invasion. However, sensitive microbial taxa appeared to recover in the two oldest sites, leading to an increase in richness, but consequent decrease in resistance. This may be because of evolutionary changes in the A. petiolata populations, which tend to reduce their investment to allelopathic compounds over time. These results show that, over time, microbial communities can develop resistance to an invasive plant but at the cost of lower richness. However, over longer time-scales evolution in the invasive species may allow for the recovery of soil microbial communities. © The Author (2010). Journal compilation © New Phytologist Trust (2010).

  2. Native species dispersal reduces community invasibility by increasing species richness and biotic resistance.

    PubMed

    Howeth, Jennifer G

    2017-08-03

    Recent studies indicate that diversity-invasibility relationships can depend on spatial scale, but the contributing role of native species dispersal among local communities in mediating these relationships remains unaddressed. Metacommunity ecology highlights the effects of species dispersal rates on local diversity, thereby suggesting that native species dispersal may influence local biotic resistance to invasion by non-native species. However, the effects of native species dispersal rates on local native diversity and invasibility could depend on any intraspecific differences of the invader that may alter establishment success. Here, I experimentally tested for the influence of native dispersal-diversity relationships on the invasibility of native communities by a non-native species represented by core, midrange and peripheral regions of the introduced geographic range. In mesocosms, native plankton communities were connected by low or moderate rates of dispersal to yield dispersal rate-driven differences in native species richness prior to invasion by a non-native zooplankter, Daphnia lumholtzi. After invasion, establishment success and effects of the non-native species on native community structure and ecosystem properties were evaluated as a function of dispersal rate and invader source region relative to a control without native species. Native species richness was greater at the moderate dispersal rate than the low dispersal rate and yielded a dispersal rate-dependent diversity-invasibility relationship that was robust to invader source region. There was almost no establishment success of the non-native species at moderate dispersal and reduced success at low dispersal relative to the control. Invader population growth rates were negative only at the moderate dispersal rate. Effects of species dispersal on native community and ecosystem response were more influential than effects of invasion and impacts associated with invader source region. The results

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2013-06-01

    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.

  5. Marine protected communities against biological invasions: A case study from an offshore island.

    PubMed

    Gestoso, I; Ramalhosa, P; Oliveira, P; Canning-Clode, J

    2017-03-21

    Biological invasions are a major threat to the world's biota and are considered a major cause of biodiversity loss. Therefore, world marine policy has recognized the need for more marine protected areas (MPAs) as a major tool for biodiversity conservation. The present work experimentally evaluated how protected communities from an offshore island can face the settlement and/or expansion of nonindigenous species (NIS). First, NIS colonization success in marine protected and marina communities was compared by deploying PVC settling plates at the Garajau MPA and Funchal marina (SW Madeira Island). Then, the settling plates from the MPA were transferred to Funchal marina to test their resistance to NIS invasion under high levels of NIS pressure. Results indicated that the structure and composition of fouling communities from the MPA differed from those collected in the marina. Interestingly, communities from the protected area showed lower NIS colonization success, suggesting some degree of biotic resistance against NIS invasion.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  7. 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

  8. Plant community responses to simultaneous changes in temperature, nitrogen availability, and invasion.

    PubMed

    Gornish, Elise S; Miller, Thomas E

    2015-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

  9. Invasion rates increase with species richness in a marine epibenthic community by two mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Dunstan, Piers K; Johnson, Craig R

    2004-01-01

    It is widely believed that, when extrinsic conditions are similar, the likelihood of species invading established assemblages decreases with increasing species richness of the recipient community. Here we show that, for a sessile marine invertebrate community, invasion of patches increases with richness of the patch. We show that invasions can increase with local species richness by two distinct mechanisms. In the first, opportunistic colonisers with traits typical of invasive species colonise species-rich patches at higher rates because speciose patches are dominated by small colonies and mortality rates of small colonies are greater than that of large ones. Thus, mortality provides bare space for opportunists to colonise more frequently in species-rich patches. In the second, some species avoid colonising open areas of free space but preferentially associate with established colonies of particular other species, and a given preferred associate is more likely to occur in species-rich than in species-poor patches. These patterns are the result of particular properties of individual species and local species dynamics, and show that reduced risk of invasion is not necessarily an intrinsic property of species-rich communities. We conclude that resistance to invasion will be determined by the properties of the particular component species and emergent dynamics of the recipient community, and not by an aggregate community property such as richness.

  10. 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…

  11. 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…

  12. Relationship Among Establishment Durations, Kin Relatedness, Aggressiveness, and Distance Between Populations of Eight Invasive Argentine Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Supercolonies in Japan.

    PubMed

    Sato, K; Sakamoto, H; Hirata, M; Kidokoro-Kobayashi, M; Ozaki, M; Higashi, S; Murakami, T

    2017-08-01

    We investigated kin relatedness and kin-recognition abilities of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), an invader from North America that has pervaded Japan for 20 yr, using genetic analyses and behavioral bioassays. From these data and interactions among factors, we formulated an eradication and management time-scale pattern diagram. Relatedness within a colony using microsatellite markers was effectively zero, whereas relatedness estimated by multilocus DNA fingerprinting markers was relatively high. Specifically, relatedness of recently invaded populations was estimated at nearly 0.3. From the results of behavioral bioassays on the invading populations of the Argentine ant, all colonies except the Kobe supercolonies did not show clearly aggressive behaviors toward workers belonging to other colonies, even when distantly located. Because they are critical factors for eradicating and managing invasive organisms, we assessed the relationships among kin relatedness using multilocus DNA fingerprinting and microsatellite markers, with aggressiveness, in 2011 and 2012, including the establishment durations, and distances among supercolonies. A generalized linear model (GLM) analysis, with establishment durations as an explanatory variable, strongly contributed to explaining estimated relatedness from the two methods. Specifically, models using kin relatedness for both multilocus DNA fingerprinting and microsatellite markers provided the strongest contribution to explaining the establishment durations. Within 3 yr after establishment in a native area, eradication is possible because of their low genetic diversity and small colony size. After 15 yr, eradication will be more difficult, but it is preferable to just monitor the impact for a nonnative ecosystem. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  15. 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.

  16. Negative Effects of an Exotic Grass Invasion on Small-Mammal Communities

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25269073

  17. 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.

  18. Higher ant diversity in native vegetation than in stands of the invasive arundo, Arundo donax L., along the Rio Grande basin in Texas, U.S.A.

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Ants collected in pitfall traps were identified and compared between native vegetation and monoculture stands of arundo, Arundo donax L., monthly at 10 locations for a year. A total of 82,752 ants representing 28 genera and 76 species were collected. More ants were collected in the native vegetation...

  19. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  1. Integrating biology into invasive species management is a key principle for eradication success: the case of yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, B D

    2015-04-01

    The lack of biological knowledge of many invasive species remains as one of the greatest impediments to their management. Here I detail targeted research into the biology of the yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes within northern Australia and detail how such knowledge can be used to improve the management outcomes for this species. I quantified nest location and density in three habitats, worker activity over 24 h, infestation expansion rate, seasonal variation of worker abundance and the timing of production of sexuals. Nests were predominantly (up to 68%) located at the bases of large trees, indicating that search efforts should focus around tree bases. Nest density was one nest per 22, 7.1 and 6.3 m2 in the three habitats, respectively. These data form the baselines for quantifying treatment efficacy and set sampling densities for post-treatment assessments. Most (60%) nests were underground, predominantly (89%) occurring in an open area rather than underneath a rock or log. Some seasonality was evident for nests within leaf litter, with most (83%) occurring during the 'wet season' (October-March). Of the underground nests, most were shallow, with 44% being less than 10 cm deep, and 67% being less than 20 cm deep. Such nest location and density information serves many management purposes, for improving detection, mapping and post-treatment assessments, and also provided strong evidence that carbohydrate supply was a major driver of A. gracilipes populations. Just over half of the nests (56%) contained queens. Of the 62 underground nests containing queens, most queens (80%) were located at the deepest chamber. When queens were present, most often (38%) only one queen was present, the most being 16. Queen number per nest was the lowest in July and August just prior to the emergence of virgin queens in September, with queen numbers then remaining steadily high until April. Nothing is known for any ant species about how the queen number per nest/colony affects

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. The ecological perspective of microbial communities in two pairs of competitive Hawaiian native and invasive macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin; Liu, Xianhua; Kono, Shoko; Wang, Guangyi

    2013-02-01

    Marine macroalgae are known to harbor large populations of microbial symbionts, and yet, microbe symbiosis in invasive macroalgae remains largely unknown. In this study, we applied molecular methods to study microbial communities associated with two invasive algae Acanthophora spicifera and Gracilaria salicornia and the two native algae Gracilaria coronopifolia and Laurencia nidifica at spatial and temporal scales in Hawaiian coral reef ecosystems. Bacterial communities of both the invasive and native macroalgae displayed little spatial and temporal variations, suggesting consistent and stable bacterial associations with these macroalgae. Results of this study identified three types of bacterial populations: nonspecific (present in both algal and water samples); algae-specific (found in all algal species); and species-specific (only found in individual species). The bacterial diversity of invasive algae was lower than that of their native counterparts at phylum and species levels. Notably, the vast majority (71 %) of bacterial communities associated with the invasive algae G. salicornia were representatives of Cyanobacteria, suggesting a potential ecological significance of symbiotic Cyanobacteria.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Bait development for Tawny Crazy Ants

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, is an invasive ant from South America that is spreading in the southern USA. As of December 2015, N. fulva was reported from at least 85 counties or parishes primarily among all the gulf coast states. In addition this ant is found on St Croix in the U.S Virgi...

  10. How plants shape the ant community in the Amazonian rainforest canopy: the key role of extrafloral nectaries and homopteran honeydew.

    PubMed

    Blüthgen, N; Verhaagh, M; Goitía, W; Jaffé, K; Morawetz, W; Barthlott, W

    2000-10-01

    Ant-plant interactions in the canopy of a lowland Amazonian rainforest of the upper Orinoco, Venezuela, were studied using a modified commercial crane on rails (Surumoni project). Our observations show a strong correlation between plant sap exudates and both abundance of ants and co-occurrence of ant species in tree canopies. Two types of plant sap sources were compared: extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and honeydew secretions by homopterans. EFNs were a frequent food source for ants on epiphytes (Philodendron spp., Araceae) and lianas (Dioclea, Fabaceae), but rare on canopy trees in the study area, whereas the majority of trees were host to aggregations of homopterans tended by honeydew-seeking ants (on 62% of the trees examined). These aggregations rarely occurred on epiphytes. Baited ant traps were installed on plants with EFNs and in the crowns of trees from three common genera, including trees with and without ant-tended homopterans: Goupia glabra (Celastraceae), Vochysia spp. (Vochysiaceae), and Xylopia spp. (Annonaceae). The number of ant workers per trap was significantly higher on plants offering one of the two plant sap sources than on trees without such resources. Extrafloral nectaries were used by a much broader spectrum of ant species and genera than honeydew, and co-occurrence of ant species (in traps) was significantly higher on plants bearing EFNs than on trees. Homopteran honeydew (Coccidae and Membracidae), on the other hand, was mostly monopolised by a single ant colony per tree. Homopteran-tending ants were generally among the most dominant ants in the canopy. The most prominent genera were Azteca, Dolichoderus (both Dolichoderinae), Cephalotes, Pheidole, Crematogaster (all Myrmicinae), and Ectatomma (Ponerinae). Potential preferences were recorded between ant and homopteran species, and also between ant-homopteran associations and tree genera. We hypothesize that the high availability of homopteran honeydew provides a key resource for ant mosaics

  11. Allergist referrals for systemic reactions to imported fire ants: a community survey in an endemic area.

    PubMed

    Bhutani, Sumit; Khan, David A

    2009-02-01

    Systemic reactions to imported fire ants (IFAs) are known to be the most common cause of anaphylaxis in the southeastern United States, including Texas. Despite this reaction prevalence, referrals to allergists for evaluation and treatment of IFA reactions seem to be infrequent. To evaluate the frequency of referrals for systemic reactions to IFAs in an IFA-endemic area of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. A list of all practicing allergists in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex was generated through allergy society membership directories and local telephone book listings. Practices that performed testing and administered immunotherapy for IFA allergy were surveyed using a written questionnaire assessing new referrals for IFA systemic reactions and perceptions of referral patterns. Of 78 "allergists" initially screened, 51 indicated that they test and currently perform immunotherapy for IFA allergy. Of these 51 allergists, 35 (69%) returned completed surveys. Based on these responses, an estimated 0.6% of new patient referrals were for IFA reactions. Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated that none to very few of all patients in their area with systemic reactions to IFA were being referred to their office for evaluation. Only 0.6% of new referrals to allergists' offices in an IFA-endemic area are for IFA systemic reactions. This is even lower than the estimated 2% prevalence of systemic reactions to IFA in the general population of an endemic area. Efforts to improve awareness of treatment for IFA systemic reactions for referring physicians and the public are needed.

  12. Mountain Pine Beetles and Invasive Plant Species Findings from a Survey of Colorado Community Residents

    Treesearch

    Courtney Flint; Hua Qin; Michael Daab

    2008-01-01

    The US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station funded research to assess community responses to forest disturbance by mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and public reaction to invasive plants in north central Colorado. In the Spring of2007, 4,027 16-page questionnaires were mailed to randomly selected households with addresses in Breckenridge,...

  13. Restoration of native plant communities infested by invasive weeds -- Sawmill Creek Research Natural Area

    Treesearch

    Peter Rice

    2000-01-01

    Invasive alien weeds established themselves on the Sawmill Creek Research Natural Area, harming elk feeding grounds and threatening the integrity of the native plant community. Management enacted herbicide control over several growing seasons, resulting in greater elk winter forage on study plots. Monitoring the long-term effects of herbicide as a restoration tool...

  14. Small mammal communities and habitat selection in Northern Rocky Mountain bunchgrass: Implications for exotic plant invasions

    Treesearch

    Dean E. Pearson; Yvette K. Ortega; Kevin S. McKelvey; Leonard F. Ruggiero

    2001-01-01

    Agriculture and development have dramatically reduced the range of native bunchgrass habitats in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and the invasion of exotic plants threatens to greatly alter the remaining pristine prairie. Small mammals play many important roles in ecosystem functions, but little is known about small mammal community composition and structure in native...

  15. Effects of long-term consumer manipulations on invasion in oak savanna communities.

    PubMed

    Seabloom, Eric W; Borer, Elizabeth T; Martin, Burl A; Orrock, John L

    2009-05-01

    Consumer-plant interactions can alter the outcome of biological invasions when native and exotic plants differ systematically in their resistance to and/or tolerance of consumer impacts. Given evidence for indirect interactions and shifts in plant communities from the few existing long-term studies, it is clear that long-term studies are a critical component for understanding the role of consumers in plant invasions. Moreover, studies of the role of consumers in mediating invasions have focused on the effects of exotic consumers, while the effects of native consumers on invasion have received little attention. Here we examine the long-term impact of a largely native vertebrate consumer community on native and exotic understory plants and recruitment of native oaks in a California oak savanna. We sampled plant community composition, oak recruitment, and soils inside and outside of 10 exclosures (mean area = 1000 m2) that had been in place for an average of 32 years. Plots with consumers present had 41% more exotic species, 31% higher cover of exotic species, and 33% lower richness of native herbaceous perennials, suggesting that native consumers may play an important role in mediating invasion in this system. The presence of oak canopies had a strong impact on the plant community independent of consumer effects, with greater recruitment of oaks, higher cover of native shrubs, and lower cover of exotic species cover under oak canopies. The concordant variation of native tree canopy and native woody plants suggests that adult oaks provide a refuge for their seedlings and other native woody plants. Thus, the widespread loss of native oaks has likely increased exotic invasion into an important refuge for native species in the California oak savanna ecosystem.

  16. Endophytic fungal communities of Bromus tectorum: Mutualisms, community assemblages and implications for invasion

    Treesearch

    Melissa A. Baynes

    2011-01-01

    Exotic plant invasions are of serious economic, social and ecological concern worldwide. Although many promising hypotheses have been posited in attempt to explain the mechanism(s) by which plant invaders are successful, there is no single explanation for all invasions and often no single explanation for the success of an individual species. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum...

  17. Differences in wetland nitrogen cycling between the invasive grass Microstegium vimineum and a diverse plant community.

    PubMed

    DeMeester, Julie E; DeB Richter, Daniel

    2010-04-01

    Wetlands are valuable for buffering waterways from excess nitrogen, yet these habitats are often dominated by invasive plant species. There is little understanding as to how various invasive species alter ecosystem nitrogen cycling, especially if one invasive overtakes an entire community of plants. Microstegium vimineum is a nonnative annual grass from Asia that is dominating riparian wetlands in the southeastern United States. To evaluate M. vimineum impacts on the N cycle, we used six paired plots, one invaded by M. vimineum and the other carefully weeded of M. vimineum; removal allowed the establishment of a diverse plant community consisting of Polygonum, Juncus, and Carex species. In the paired plots, we estimated (1) N uptake and accumulation in vegetation biomass, (2) rates of decomposition and N release from plant detritus, (3) mineral soil N mineralization and nitrification, (4) root zone redox potential, and (5) soil water concentrations of inorganic N. The M. vimineum community accumulated approximately half the annual N biomass of the diverse community, 5.04 vs. 9.36 g N x m(-2) x yr(-1), respectively (P = 0.05). Decomposition and release of N from M. vimineum detritus was much less than in the diverse community, 1.19 vs. 5.24 g N x m(-2) x yr(-1). Significantly higher inorganic soil N persisted beneath M. vimineum during the dormant season, although rates of soil N mineralization estimated by in situ incubations were relatively similar in all plots. Microstegium vimineum invasion thus appears to greatly diminish within-ecosystem circulation of N through the understory plants of these wetlands, whereas invasion effects on ecosystem N losses may derive more from enhanced denitrification (due to lower redox potential under M. vimineum plots) than due to leaching. Microstegium vimineum's dominance and yet slower internal cycling of N are counterintuitive to conventional thinking that ecosystems with high N contain vegetation that quickly uptake and

  18. Comparison Between Ground Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities Foraging in the Straw Mulch of Sugarcane Crops and in the Leaf Litter of Neighboring Forests.

    PubMed

    Silva, N S; Saad, L P; Souza-Campana, D R; Bueno, O C; Morini, M S C

    2017-02-01

    In many sugarcane plantations in Brazil, the straw is left on the soil after harvesting, and vinasse, a by-product of the production of sugar and ethanol, is used for fertigation. Our goal was to compare ant community composition and species richness in the straw mulch of sugarcane crops with the leaf litter of neighboring forests. We tested the hypothesis that ant communities in the straw mulch of vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops and in the forest leaf litter were similar, because the combination of straw mulching and vinasse irrigation has a positive effect on soil fauna. Straw mulch and leaf litter were collected from 21 sites and placed in Berlese funnels. In total, 61 species were found in the forest leaf litter, whereas 34 and 28 species were found in the straw mulch of sugarcane fields with and without vinasse, respectively. Ant communities differed between forest and crop fields, but the species in the sugarcane straw mulch were a subset of the species found in the forest leaf litter. Although vinasse is rich in organic matter, it did not increase ant diversity. Seven feeding and/or foraging types were identified and, among the different types, surface-foraging omnivorous ants were the most prevalent in all habitats. Vinasse-irrigated sugarcane straw mulch had more predatory species than mulch from vinasse-free fields, but fewer than forest leaf litter. However, this positive effect of vinasse irrigation should be carefully evaluated because vinasse has negative effects on the environment. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

  4. Abiotic and biotic resistance to grass invasion in serpentine annual plant communities.

    PubMed

    Going, Barbara Marie; Hillerislambers, Janneke; Levine, Jonathan M

    2009-04-01

    Biological invasions severely impact native plant communities, causing dramatic shifts in species composition and the restriction of native species to spatially isolated refuges. Competition from resident species and the interaction between resource limitation and competition have been overlooked as mechanisms of community resistance in refugia habitats. We examined the importance of these factors in determining the resistance of California serpentine plant communities to invasion by three common European grasses, Avena barbata, Bromus diandrus, and Hordeum murinum. We added seeds of each of these grasses to plots subjected to six levels of resource addition (N, P, Ca, H2O, all resources together, and a no-addition control) and two levels of competition (with resident community present or removed). Resource limitation and competition had strong effects on the biomass and reproduction of the three invaders. The addition of all resources together combined with the removal of the resident community yielded individual plants that were fourfold to 20-fold larger and sixfold to 20-fold more fecund than plants from control plots. Competitor removal alone yielded invaders that were twofold to sevenfold larger and twofold to ninefold more fecund. N addition alone or in combination with other resources led to a twofold to ninefold increase in the biomass and fecundity of the invaders. No other resource alone significantly affected native or invader performance, suggesting that N was the key limiting resource during our experiment. We found a significant interaction between abiotic and biotic resistance for Bromus, which experienced increased competitive suppression in fertilized plots. The threefold increase in resident biomass with N addition was likely responsible for this result. Our results confirm that serpentine plant communities are severely N limited, which, in combination with competition from resident species, promotes the resistance of these systems to invasions

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Invasive plant alters community and ecosystem dynamics by promoting native predators.

    PubMed

    Smith-Ramesh, Lauren M

    2017-03-01

    Placing invasion in a more complete food web context expands our understanding of species invasions to reflect the inherent complexity of ecological networks. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) has traditionally been predicted to dominate native communities through mechanisms embodied in popular hypotheses such as direct plant-plant interactions (allelopathy) and plant-herbivore interactions (enemy escape). However, garlic mustard also interacts directly with native predators by providing habitat for web-building spiders, which colonize the dry fruit structures (siliques) that garlic mustard leaves behind after it senesces. This interaction may lead to altered food web structure, resulting previously unexamined invasion consequences. This idea was tested in a field experiment including three treatments in which garlic mustard siliques were left intact (S+), removed (S-), or native species dominated and garlic mustard was absent (N). When siliques were intact, estimated insect abundance was locally reduced in invaded plots compared to native plots, but this relationship disappeared when siliques were removed. Phosphorus availability and the growth of one native plant species were both elevated in invaded plots where siliques were intact compared to plots where siliques were removed. Results indicate that garlic mustard's close association with web-building spiders initiates cascading invader impacts on the native community and ecosystem properties. This work supports recent theory suggesting that taking a broader food web perspective may help predict invasion impacts in different environmental contexts.

  10. 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.

  11. Ecological consequences of interactions between ants and honeydew-producing insects

    PubMed Central

    Styrsky, John D; Eubanks, Micky D

    2006-01-01

    Interactions between ants and honeydew-producing hemipteran insects are abundant and widespread in arthropod food webs, yet their ecological consequences are very poorly known. Ant–hemipteran interactions have potentially broad ecological effects, because the presence of honeydew-producing hemipterans dramatically alters the abundance and predatory behaviour of ants on plants. We review several studies that investigate the consequences of ant–hemipteran interactions as ‘keystone interactions’ on arthropod communities and their host plants. Ant–hemipteran interactions have mostly negative effects on the local abundance and species richness of several guilds of herbivores and predators. In contrast, out of the 30 studies that document the effects of ant–hemipteran interactions on plants, the majority (73%) shows that plants actually benefit indirectly from these interactions. In these studies, increased predation or harassment of other, more damaging, herbivores by hemipteran-tending ants resulted in decreased plant damage and/or increased plant growth and reproduction. The ecological consequences of mutualistic interactions between honeydew-producing hemipterans and invasive ants relative to native ants have rarely been studied, but they may be of particular importance owing to the greater abundance, aggressiveness and extreme omnivory of invasive ants. We argue that ant–hemipteran interactions are largely overlooked and underappreciated interspecific interactions that have strong and pervasive effects on the communities in which they are embedded. PMID:17148245

  12. 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

  13. Invasive toads shift predator-prey densities in animal communities by removing top predators.

    PubMed

    Doody, J Sean; Soanes, Rebekah; Castellano, Christina M; Rhind, David; Green, Brian; McHenry, Colin R; Clulow, Simon

    2015-09-01

    Although invasive species can have substantial impacts on animal communities, cases of invasive species facilitating native species by removing their predators have rarely been demonstrated across vertebrate trophic linkages. The predictable spread of the invasive cane toad (Rhinella marina), however, offered a unique opportunity to quantify cascading effects. In northern Australia, three species of predatory monitor lizards suffered severe population declines due to toad-induced lethal toxic ingestion (yellow-spotted monitor (Varanus panoptes), Mertens' water monitor (V. mertensi), Mitchell's water monitor (V. mitchelli). We, thus, predicted subsequent increases in the abundance and recruitment of prey species due to the reduction of those predators. Toad-induced population-level declines in the water monitor species approached 50% over a five-year period spanning the toad invasion, apparently causing fledging success of the Crimson Finch (Neochmia.phaeton) to increase from 55% to 81%. The consensus of our original and published long-term data is that invasive cane toads are causing predators to lose a foothold on top-down regulation of their prey, triggering shifts in the relative densities of predator and prey in the Australian tropical savannah ecosystem.

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

    PubMed

    Marraffini, M L; Geller, J B

    2015-08-07

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Ocean warming increases threat of invasive species in a marine fouling community.

    PubMed

    Sorte, Cascade J B; Williams, Susan L; Zerebecki, Robyn A

    2010-08-01

    We addressed the potential for climate change to facilitate invasions and precipitate shifts in community composition by testing effects of ocean warming on species in a marine fouling community in Bodega Harbor, Bodega Bay, California, USA. First, we determined that introduced species tolerated significantly higher temperatures than natives, suggesting that climate change will have a disproportionately negative impact on native species. Second, we assessed the temperature dependence of survival and growth by exposing juveniles to an ambient control temperature and increased temperatures predicted by ocean warming scenarios (+3 degrees C and +4.5 degrees C) in laboratory mesocosms. We found that responses differed between species, species origins, and demographic processes. Based on the temperature tolerance, survival, and growth results, we predict that, as ocean temperatures increase, native species will decrease in abundance, whereas introduced species are likely to increase in this system. Facilitation of invasions by climate change may already be underway; locally, invasive dominance has increased concurrent with ocean warming over the past approximately 40 years. We suggest that the effects of climate change on communities can occur via both direct impacts on the diversity and abundance of native species and indirect effects due to increased dominance of introduced species.

  18. 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

  19. Are local filters blind to provenance? Ant seed predation suppresses exotic plants more than natives.

    PubMed

    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.

  20. The combined effects of exogenous and endogenous variability on the spatial distribution of ant communities in a forested ecosystem (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Yitbarek, Senay; Vandermeer, John H; Allen, David

    2011-10-01

    Spatial patterns observed in ecosystems have traditionally been attributed to exogenous processes. Recently, ecologists have found that endogenous processes also have the potential to create spatial patterns. Yet, relatively few studies have attempted to examine the combined effects of exogenous and endogenous processes on the distribution of organisms across spatial and temporal scales. Here we aim to do this, by investigating whether spatial patterns of under-story tree species at a large spatial scale (18 ha) influences the spatial patterns of ground foraging ant species at a much smaller spatial scale (20 m by 20 m). At the regional scale, exogenous processes (under-story tree community) had a strong effect on the spatial patterns in the ground-foraging ant community. We found significantly more Camponotus noveboracensis, Formica subsericae, and Lasius alienus species in black cherry (Prunis serotine Ehrh.) habitats. In witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L.) habitats, we similarly found significantly more Myrmica americana, Formica fusca, and Formica subsericae. At smaller spatial scales, we observed the emergence of mosaic ant patches changing rapidly in space and time. Our study reveals that spatial patterns are the result of both exogenous and endogenous forces, operating at distinct scales.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. An evaluation of the impact of Melaleuca quinquenervia invasion and managment on plant community structure after fire.

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The successful management of invasive species can be particularly difficult in natural areas that depend on disturbances such as fire to maintain community structure and function. In these systems, fire-adapted invasive species may disproportionally benefit from post-fire resource availability, inc...

  4. High Invasive Pollen Transfer, Yet Low Deposition on Native Stigmas in a Carpobrotus-invaded Community

    PubMed Central

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Bosch, Jordi; Vilà, Montserrat

    2008-01-01

    Background and Aims Invasive plants are potential agents of disruption in plant–pollinator interactions. They may affect pollinator visitation rates to native plants and modify the plant–pollinator interaction network. However, there is little information about the extent to which invasive pollen is incorporated into the pollination network and about the rates of invasive pollen deposition on the stigmas of native plants. Methods The degree of pollinator sharing between the invasive plant Carpobrotus affine acinaciformis and the main co-flowering native plants was tested in a Mediterranean coastal shrubland. Pollen loads were identified from the bodies of the ten most common pollinator species and stigmatic pollen deposition in the five most common native plant species. Key Results It was found that pollinators visited Carpobrotus extensively. Seventy-three per cent of pollinator specimens collected on native plants carried Carpobrotus pollen. On average 23 % of the pollen on the bodies of pollinators visiting native plants was Carpobrotus. However, most of the pollen found on the body of pollinators belonged to the species on which they were collected. Similarly, most pollen on native plant stigmas was conspecific. Invasive pollen was present on native plant stigmas, but in low quantity. Conclusions Carpobrotus is highly integrated in the pollen transport network. However, the plant-pollination network in the invaded community seems to be sufficiently robust to withstand the impacts of the presence of alien pollen on native plant pollination, as shown by the low levels of heterospecific pollen deposition on native stigmas. Several mechanisms are discussed for the low invasive pollen deposition on native stigmas. PMID:18593688

  5. Disturbance Promotes Non-Indigenous Bacterial Invasion in Soil Microcosms: Analysis of the Roles of Resource Availability and Community Structure

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Manqiang; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Rønn, Regin; Christensen, Søren; Ekelund, Flemming

    2012-01-01

    Background Invasion-biology is largely based on non-experimental observation of larger organisms. Here, we apply an experimental approach to the subject. By using microbial-based microcosm-experiments, invasion-biology can be placed on firmer experimental, and hence, less anecdotal ground. A better understanding of the mechanisms that govern invasion-success of bacteria in soil communities will provide knowledge on the factors that hinder successful establishment of bacteria artificially inoculated into soil, e.g. for remediation purposes. Further, it will yield valuable information on general principles of invasion biology in other domains of life. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we studied invasion and establishment success of GFP-tagged Pseudomonas fluorescens DSM 50090 in laboratory microcosms during a 42-day period. We used soil heating to create a disturbance gradient, and hypothesized that increased disturbance would facilitate invasion; our experiments confirmed this hypothesis. We suggest that the key factors associated with the heating disturbance that explain the enhanced invasion success are increased carbon substrate availability and reduced diversity, and thus, competition- and predation-release. In a second experiment we therefore separated the effects of increased carbon availability and decreased diversity. Here, we demonstrated that the effect of the indigenous soil community on bacterial invasion was stronger than that of resource availability. In particular, introduced bacteria established better in a long term perspective at lower diversity and predation pressure. Conclusion We propose increased use of microbial systems, for experimental study of invasion scenarios. They offer a simple and cost-efficient way to study and understand biological invasion. Consequently such systems can help us to better predict the mechanisms controlling changes in stability of communities and ecosystems. This is becoming increasingly relevant since

  6. 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.

  7. [Impact of Mikania micrantha invasion on soil meso- and micro-invertebrate community structure].

    PubMed

    Quan, Guo-ming; Zhang, Jia-en; Xie, Jun-fang; Mao, Dan-juan; Xu, Hua-qin; Jiang, Wan-bing; Wen, Du-juan

    2011-07-01

    Mikania micrantha, a notorious exotic weed of Asteraceae family, has invaded successfully in southern China, and caused serious damages to native ecosystems. In this paper, a field survey was conducted in the Huolushan Forest Park of Guangzhou, China, aimed to understand the impact of M. micrantha invasion on the soil meso- and micro-invertebrate community. Three sampling sites were installed, including M. micrantha-invaded site, ecotone, and native vegetation site. Through four samplings in 2009, a total of 5206 soil meso- and micro-invertebrate individuals were collected, belonging to 4 phyla, 10 classes, and 19 orders, among which, Nematoda was the dominant group, and Acarina, Collembolan, and Rotifera were the common groups. M. micrantha invasion altered the characteristics of soil meso- and micro-invertebrate community structure. Compared with those at the other two sampling sites, the numbers of total individuals, Nematoda, and Acarina at M. micrantha-invaded site increased significantly, but the groups of soil meso- and micro-invertebrates had less change. At M. micrantha-invaded site, the density-group index (DG) of soil meso- and micro-invertebrates was significantly higher, Margalef richness index (D) and Simpson dominance index (C) tended to ascend, but Pielou evenness index (E) and Shannon index (H') tended to descend. The similarity coefficient of soil meso- and micro-invertebrate community between M. micrantha-invaded site and ecotone was higher than that between M. micrantha-invaded site and native vegetation site. The changes of local climate conditions, plant litters, root secretions, and soil physical-chemical properties caused by M. micrantha invasion could be the major contributing factors that altered the community structure of soil meso- and micro-invertebrates at M. micrantha-invaded site.

  8. Asymmetric Dispersal and Colonization Success of Amazonian Plant-Ants Queens

    PubMed Central

    Bruna, Emilio M.; Izzo, Thiago J.; Inouye, Brian D.; Uriarte, Maria; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.

    2011-01-01

    Background The dispersal ability of queens is central to understanding ant life-history evolution, and plays a fundamental role in ant population and community dynamics, the maintenance of genetic diversity, and the spread of invasive ants. In tropical ecosystems, species from over 40 genera of ants establish colonies in the stems, hollow thorns, or leaf pouches of specialized plants. However, little is known about the relative dispersal ability of queens competing for access to the same host plants. Methodology/Principal Findings We used empirical data and inverse modeling—a technique developed by plant ecologists to model seed dispersal—to quantify and compare the dispersal kernels of queens from three Amazonian ant species that compete for access to host-plants. We found that the modal colonization distance of queens varied 8-fold, with the generalist ant species (Crematogaster laevis) having a greater modal distance than two specialists (Pheidole minutula, Azteca sp.) that use the same host-plants. However, our results also suggest that queens of Azteca sp. have maximal distances that are four-sixteen times greater than those of its competitors. Conclusions/Significance We found large differences between ant species in both the modal and maximal distance ant queens disperse to find vacant seedlings used to found new colonies. These differences could result from interspecific differences in queen body size, and hence wing musculature, or because queens differ in their ability to identify potential host plants while in flight. Our results provide support for one of the necessary conditions underlying several of the hypothesized mechanisms promoting coexistence in tropical plant-ants. They also suggest that for some ant species limited dispersal capability could pose a significant barrier to the rescue of populations in isolated forest fragments. Finally, we demonstrate that inverse models parameterized with field data are an excellent means of quantifying the

  9. 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

  10. Invasion of a dominant floral resource: effects on the floral community and pollination of native plants.

    PubMed

    Goodell, Karen; Parker, Ingrid M

    2017-01-01

    Through competition for pollinators, invasive plants may suppress native flora. Community-level studies provide an integrative assessment of invasion impacts and insights into factors that influence the vulnerability of different native species. We investigated effects of the nonnative herb Lythrum salicaria on pollination of native species in 14 fens of the eastern United States. We compared visitors per flower for 122 native plant species in invaded and uninvaded fens and incorporated a landscape-scale experiment, removing L. salicaria flowers from three of the invaded fens. Total flower densities were more than three times higher in invaded than uninvaded or removal sites when L. salicaria was blooming. Despite an increase in number of visitors with number of flowers per area, visitors per native flower declined with increasing numbers of flowers. Therefore, L. salicaria invasion depressed visitation to native flowers. In removal sites, visitation to native flowers was similar to uninvaded sites, confirming the observational results and also suggesting that invasion had not generated a persistent build-up of visitor populations. To study species-level impacts, we examined effects of invasion on visitors per flower for the 36 plant species flowering in both invaded and uninvaded fens. On average, the effect of invasion represented about a 20% reduction in visits per flower. We measured the influence of plant traits on vulnerability to L. salicaria invasion using meta-analysis. Bilaterally symmetrical flowers experienced stronger impacts on visitation, and similarity in flower color to L. salicaria weakly intensified competition with the invader for visitors. Finally, we assessed the reproductive consequences of competition with the invader in a dominant flowering shrub, Dasiphora fruticosa. Despite the negative effect of invasion on pollinator visitation in this species, pollen limitation of seed production was not stronger in invaded than in uninvaded

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

    PubMed

    Zaller, Johann G; Parth, Myriam; Szunyogh, Ilona; Semmelrock, Ines; Sochurek, Susanne; Pinheiro, Marcia; Frank, Thomas; Drapela, Thomas

    2013-05-13

    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. 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 containing more plant

  12. 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

  13. 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. © FEMS 2014. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  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. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Minimal effects of an invasive flowering shrub on the pollinator community of native forbs.

    PubMed

    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.

  18. 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 ...

  19. 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 ...

  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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 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 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.

  3. 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; ...

    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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Stinging ants.

    PubMed

    Rhoades, R

    2001-08-01

    Ants belong to the order Hymenoptera, along with bees, wasps, yellow jackets, etc., they are the most successful animal genera in this world. It is their selfless social structure which accounts for their huge impact. Their effect on man ranges from the parasol ant, which makes plant cultivation untenable in certain parts of South America, to Solenopsis Invicta in the southeastern United States of America, which kill ground dwelling birds and small animals, harass livestock, and renders farmland unusable. With the exception of the Bulldog Ant of Australia (which is the size of a medium cockroach) direct toxic effects are not a lethal threat to man. Human fatalities and morbidity are related to secondary infections of excoriated stings or allergic anaphylaxis. This article reviews history and recent developments regarding stinging ants around the world.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Interactions among invaders: community and ecosystem effects of multiple invasive species in an experimental aquatic system.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Pieter T J; Olden, Julian D; Solomon, Christopher T; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2009-02-01

    With ecosystems increasingly supporting multiple invasive species, interactions among invaders could magnify or ameliorate the undesired consequences for native communities and ecosystems. We evaluated the individual and combined effects of rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) and Chinese mystery snails [Bellamya (=Cipangopaludina) chinensis] on native snail communities (Physa, Helisoma and Lymnaea sp.) and ecosystem attributes (algal chlorophyll a and nutrient concentrations). Both invaders are widespread in the USA and commonly co-occur within northern temperate lakes, underscoring the importance of understanding their singular and joint effects. An outdoor mesocosm experiment revealed that while the two invaders had only weakly negative effects upon one another, both negatively affected the abundance and biomass of native snails, and their combined presence drove one native species to extinction and reduced a second by >95%. Owing to its larger size and thicker shell, adult Bellamya were protected from crayfish attack relative to native species (especially Physa and Lymnaea), suggesting the co-occurrence of these invaders in nature could have elevated consequences for native communities. The per capita impacts of Orconectes (a snail predator) on native snails were substantially greater than those of Bellamya (a snail competitor). Crayfish predation also had a cascading effect by reducing native snail biomass, leading to increased periphyton growth. Bellamya, in contrast, reduced periphyton biomass, likely causing a reduction in growth by native lymnaeid snails. Bellamya also increased water column N:P ratio, possibly because of a low P excretion rate relative to native snail species. Together, these findings highlight the importance of understanding interactions among invasive species, which can have significant community- and ecosystem-level effects.

  11. 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

  12. Urban Pest Management of Ants in California

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  13. Long-term dynamics of biotic and abiotic resistance to exotic species invasion in restored vernal pool plant communities.

    PubMed

    Collinge, Sharon K; Ray, Chris; Gerhardt, Fritz

    2011-09-01

    Invasion of native ecosystems by exotic species can seriously threaten native biodiversity, alter ecosystem function, and inhibit conservation. Moreover, restoration of native plant communities is often impeded by competition from exotic species. Exotic species invasion may be limited by unfavorable abiotic conditions and by competition with native species, but the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors remains controversial and may vary during the invasion process. We used a long-term experiment involving restored vernal pool plant communities to characterize the temporal dynamics of exotic species invasion, and to evaluate the relative support for biotic and abiotic factors affecting invasion resistance. Experimental pools (n=256) were divided among controls and several seeding treatments. In most treatments, native vernal pool species were initially more abundant than exotic species, and pools that initially received more native seeds exhibited lower frequencies of exotic species over time. However, even densely seeded pools were eventually dominated by exotic species, following extreme climatic events that reduced both native and exotic plant densities across the study site. By the sixth year of the experiment, most pools supported more exotics than native vernal pool species, regardless of seeding treatment or pool depth. Although deeper pools were less invaded by exotic species, two exotics (Hordeum marinum and Lolium multiflorum) were able to colonize deeper pools as soon as the cover of native species was reduced by climatic extremes. Based on an information-theoretic analysis, the best model of invasion resistance included a nonlinear effect of seeding treatment and both linear and nonlinear effects of pool depth. Pool depth received more support as a predictor of invasion resistance, but seeding intensity was also strongly supported in multivariate models of invasion, and was the best predictor of resistance to invasion by H. marinum and L

  14. 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.

  15. Pseudacteon Phorid Flies: Host Specificity and Impacts on Solenopsis Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Chen, Li; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2017-09-22

    Human commerce has resulted in the spread of the imported fire ants, Solenopsis species, worldwide. Six species of parasitic Pseudacteon phorid flies that are highly host specific to the Solenopsis saevissima complex of Solenopsis fire ants have been successfully released in the southern United States. The presence of Pseudacteon phorid flies, in addition to having direct mortality effects on their host ants, modifies foraging behavior and disrupts interspecific competition between host species and other ant species in the community. Fire ant workers have evolved effective methods to cope with parasitism pressure, which may relieve population-level impacts of introduced phorid flies. This review focuses on the mechanisms underlying host location, host preference, and host-size selection of Pseudacteon phorid flies and highlights their direct and indirect effects on fire ant populations. Knowledge gained from parasitoid-ant interactions will enhance use of natural enemies as biological control agents for invasive social insects. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Entomology Volume 63 is January 7, 2018. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

  16. 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.

  17. Limits to tree species invasion in pampean grassland and forest plant communities.

    PubMed

    Mazia, Noemí C; Chaneton, Enrique J; Ghersa, Claudio M; León, Rolando J

    2001-08-01

    Factors limiting tree invasion in the Inland Pampas of Argentina were studied by monitoring the establishment of four alien tree species in remnant grassland and cultivated forest stands. We tested whether disturbances facilitated tree seedling recruitment and survival once seeds of invaders were made available by hand sowing. Seed addition to grassland failed to produce seedlings of two study species, Ligustrum lucidum and Ulmus pumila, but did result in abundant recruitment of Gleditsia triacanthos and Prosopis caldenia. While emergence was sparse in intact grassland, seedling densities were significantly increased by canopy and soil disturbances. Longer-term surveys showed that only Gleditsia became successfully established in disturbed grassland. These results support the hypothesis that interference from herbaceous vegetation may play a significant role in slowing down tree invasion, whereas disturbances create microsites that can be exploited by invasive woody plants. Seed sowing in a Ligustrum forest promoted the emergence of all four study species in understorey and treefall gap conditions. Litter removal had species-specific effects on emergence and early seedling growth, but had little impact on survivorship. Seedlings emerging under the closed forest canopy died within a few months. In the treefall gap, recruits of Gleditsia and Prosopis survived the first year, but did not survive in the longer term after natural gap closure. The forest community thus appeared less susceptible to colonization by alien trees than the grassland. We conclude that tree invasion in this system is strongly limited by the availability of recruitment microsites and biotic interactions, as well as by dispersal from existing propagule sources.

  18. Invasive Disease vs Urinary Antigen-Confirmed Pneumococcal Community-Acquired Pneumonia.

    PubMed

    Ceccato, Adrian; Torres, Antoni; Cilloniz, Catia; Amaro, Rosanel; Gabarrus, Albert; Polverino, Eva; Prina, Elena; Garcia-Vidal, Carolina; Muñoz-Conejero, Eva; Mendez, Cristina; Cifuentes, Isabel; Puig de la Bella Casa, Jorge; Menendez, Rosario; Niederman, Michael S

    2017-06-01

    The burden of pneumococcal disease is measured only through patients with invasive pneumococcal disease. The urinary antigen test (UAT) for pneumococcus has exhibited high sensitivity and specificity. We aimed to compare the pneumococcal pneumonias diagnosed as invasive disease with pneumococcal pneumonias defined by UAT results. A prospective observational study of consecutive nonimmunosuppressed patients with community-acquired pneumonia was performed from January 2000 to December 2014. Patients were stratified into two groups: invasive pneumococcal pneumonia (IPP) defined as a positive blood culture or pleural fluid culture result and noninvasive pneumococcal pneumonia (NIPP) defined as a positive UAT result with negative blood or pleural fluid culture result. We analyzed 779 patients (15%) of 5,132, where 361 (46%) had IPP and 418 (54%) had NIPP. Compared with the patients with IPP, those with NIPP presented more frequent chronic pulmonary disease and received previous antibiotics more frequently. Patients with IPP presented more severe community-acquired pneumonia, higher levels of inflammatory markers, and worse oxygenation at admission; more pulmonary complications; greater extrapulmonary complications; longer time to clinical stability; and longer length of hospital stay compared with the NIPP group. Age, chronic liver disease, mechanical ventilation, and acute renal failure were independent risk factors for 30-day crude mortality. Neither IPP nor NIPP was an independent risk factor for 30-day mortality. A high percentage of confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia is diagnosed by UAT. Despite differences in clinical characteristics and outcomes, IPP is not an independent risk factor for 30-day mortality compared with NIPP, reinforcing the importance of NIPP for pneumococcal pneumonia. Copyright © 2017 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney E.; Silbiger, Nyssa J.; Bruno, John F.

    2017-01-01

    Invasive lionfish are assumed to significantly affect Caribbean reef fish communities. However, evidence of lionfish effects on native reef fishes is based on uncontrolled observational studies or small-scale, unrepresentative experiments, with findings ranging from no effect to large effects on prey density and richness. Moreover, whether lionfish affect populations and communities of native reef fishes at larger, management-relevant scales is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of lionfish on coral reef prey fish communities in a natural complex reef system. We quantified lionfish and the density, richness, and composition of native prey fishes (0–10 cm total length) at sixteen reefs along ∼250 km of the Belize Barrier Reef from 2009 to 2013. Lionfish invaded our study sites during this four-year longitudinal study, thus our sampling included fish community structure before and after our sites were invaded, i.e., we employed a modified BACI design. We found no evidence that lionfish measurably affected the density, richness, or composition of prey fishes. It is possible that higher lionfish densities are necessary to detect an effect of lionfish on prey populations at this relatively large spatial scale. Alternatively, negative effects of lionfish on prey could be small, essentially undetectable, and ecologically insignificant at our study sites. Other factors that influence the dynamics of reef fish populations including reef complexity, resource availability, recruitment, predation, and fishing could swamp any effects of lionfish on prey populations. PMID:28560093

  20. Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Hackerott, Serena; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney E; Silbiger, Nyssa J; Bruno, John F

    2017-01-01

    Invasive lionfish are assumed to significantly affect Caribbean reef fish communities. However, evidence of lionfish effects on native reef fishes is based on uncontrolled observational studies or small-scale, unrepresentative experiments, with findings ranging from no effect to large effects on prey density and richness. Moreover, whether lionfish affect populations and communities of native reef fishes at larger, management-relevant scales is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of lionfish on coral reef prey fish communities in a natural complex reef system. We quantified lionfish and the density, richness, and composition of native prey fishes (0-10 cm total length) at sixteen reefs along ∼250 km of the Belize Barrier Reef from 2009 to 2013. Lionfish invaded our study sites during this four-year longitudinal study, thus our sampling included fish community structure before and after our sites were invaded, i.e., we employed a modified BACI design. We found no evidence that lionfish measurably affected the density, richness, or composition of prey fishes. It is possible that higher lionfish densities are necessary to detect an effect of lionfish on prey populations at this relatively large spatial scale. Alternatively, negative effects of lionfish on prey could be small, essentially undetectable, and ecologically insignificant at our study sites. Other factors that influence the dynamics of reef fish populations including reef complexity, resource availability, recruitment, predation, and fishing could swamp any effects of lionfish on prey populations.

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

    PubMed

    Gordon-Bradley, N; Li, N; Williams, H 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.

  2. 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

  3. Impact of an invasive weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, on a pasture community in south east Queensland, Australia.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Thi; Bajwa, Ali Ahsan; Belgeri, Amalia; Navie, Sheldon; O'Donnell, Chris; Adkins, Steve

    2017-09-30

    Parthenium weed is a highly invasive alien species in more than 40 countries around the world. Along with severe negative effects on human and animal health and crop production, it also causes harm to ecosystem functioning by reducing the native plant species biodiversity. However, its impacts on native plant species, especially in pasture communities, are less known. Given parthenium weed causes substantial losses to Australian pastures' productivity, it is crucial to estimate its impact on pasture communities. This study evaluates the impact of parthenium weed upon species diversity in a pasture community at Kilcoy, south east Queensland, Australia. Sub-sites containing three levels of parthenium weed density (i.e. high, low and zero) were chosen to quantify the above- and below-ground plant community structure. Species richness, diversity and evenness were all found to be significantly reduced as the density of parthenium weed increased; an effect was evident even when parthenium weed was present at relatively low densities (i.e. two plants m(-2)). This trend was observed in the summer season as well as in winter season when this annual weed was absent from the above-ground plant community. This demonstrates the strong impact that parthenium weed has upon the community composition and functioning throughout the year. It also shows the long-term impact of parthenium weed on the soil seed bank where it had displaced several native species. So, management options used for parthenium weed should also consider the reduction of parthenium weed seed bank along with controlling its above-ground populations.

  4. Where do adaptive shifts occur during invasion A multidisciplinary approach to unravel cold adaptation in a tropical ant species invading the Mediterranean zone

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  5. Fire ant control with Entomopathogens in the USA

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  6. [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.

  7. Biotic resistance and disturbance: rodent consumers regulate post-fire plant invasions and increase plant community diversity.

    PubMed

    St Clair, Samuel B; O'Connor, Rory; Gill, Richard; McMillan, Brock

    2016-07-01

    Biotic resistance and disturbance are fundamental processes influencing plant invasion outcomes; however, the role of consumers in regulating the establishment and spread of plant invaders and how disturbance modifies biotic resistance by consumers is unclear. We document that fire in combination with experimental exclusion of rodent consumers shifted a native desert shrubland to a low-diversity, invasive annual grassland dominated by Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass). In contrast, burned plots with rodents present suppressed invasion by cheatgrass and developed into a more diverse forb community. Rodents created strong biotic resistance to the establishment of aggressive plant invaders likely through seed and seedling predation, which had cascading effects on plant competition and plant community