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July 27, 2015 - To study warming temperatures, the Rob Dunn Lab has set up small chambers to simulate climate change in the woods of North Carolina and Massachusetts. Learn more in the National Geographic video: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/150727-news-warming-chambers-vin?source=searchvideo
Biological invasions are one of the greatest threats to native species in natural ecological systems. One of the most successful invasive species is Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass), which is having marked impacts on native plant communities and ecosystem processes. However, we know little about the effects of this invasion on native animal species in the Intermountain West. Because ants have been used to detect ecological change associated with anthropogenic land use, they seem well suited for a preliminary evaluation of the consequences of cheatgrass-driven habitat conversion. In our study, we used pitfall traps to assess ant community assemblages in intact sagebrush and nearby cheatgrass-dominated vegetation....
1. As central place foragers, ants accumulate organic debris near their nests. Consequently, soil nutrient stocks are often enriched near the nest site. We investigated the hypothesis that plant-derived food sources, such as extrafloral nectar (EFN), can encourage soil-dwelling ant colonies to nest near the plant, thereby inadvertently providing the plant with an additional source of mineral nutrients. The study focused on a population of Acacia constricta, a North American shrub bearing EFNs. 2. Several lines of evidence supported the notion that food rewards drew ant nests close to A. constricta plants. Firstly, ant species that visit EFNs nested significantly closer to A. constricta plants than would be expected...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12791/abstract): Urban green spaces provide ecosystem services to city residents, but their management is hindered by a poor understanding of their ecology. We examined a novel ecosystem service relevant to urban public health and esthetics: the consumption of littered food waste by arthropods. Theory and data from natural systems suggest that the magnitude and resilience of this service should increase with biological diversity. We measured food removal by presenting known quantities of cookies, potato chips, and hot dogs in street medians (24 sites) and parks (21 sites) in New York City, USA. At the same sites, we assessed ground-arthropod diversity...
Physiological intolerance of high temperatures places limits on organismal responses to the temperature increases associated with global climatic change. Because ants are geographically widespread, ecologically diverse, and thermophilic, they are an ideal system for exploring the extent to which physiological tolerance can predict responses to environmental change. Here, we expand on simple models that use thermal tolerance to predict the responses of ants to climatic warming. We investigated the degree to which changes in the abundance of ants under warming reflect reductions in the thermal niche space for their foraging. In an eastern deciduous forest system in the United States with approximately 40 ant species,...
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Abundance, richness, diversity, community composition, and functional traits of ants in the Mojave Desert relative to solar energy development decisions
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These data were compiled from pitfall traps deployed at three sites, along a 25 kilometers (km) stretch of the Colorado River, immediately downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Each site had both pre and post-dam riparian habitats present. The purpose of the sampling was to determine if arthropod abundance, diversity and feeding guilds differed between habitats. Sampling for ground-dwelling arthropods using pitfall traps occurred continuously between June 17 and September 9, 2009. The site numbering proceeds from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry. Transects were composed of 10 pitfall traps approximately 10 meters apart in a line parallel with the river in both zones (Upper riparian...
Abstract (from https://peerj.com/articles/286/): Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadenseseeds)...
Desert ecosystems have long served as model systems in the study of ecological concepts (e.g., competition, resource pulses, top-down/bottom-up dynamics). However, the inherent variability of resource availability in deserts, and hence consumer dynamics, can also make them challenging ecosystems to understand. Study of a Chihuahuan desert ecosystem near Portal, Arizona, USA, began in 1977. At this site, 24 experimental plots were established in 1977 and divided among controls and experimental manipulations. Experimental manipulations over the years include removal of all or some rodent species, all or some ants, seed additions, and various alterations of the annual plant community. While some of these manipulations...


    map background search result map search result map Ground-dwelling arthropod composition, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2009—Data Mojave Desert ants in and around a solar facility, derived from pitfall trap sampling in 2018 Ground-dwelling arthropod composition, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2009—Data Mojave Desert ants in and around a solar facility, derived from pitfall trap sampling in 2018