We studied the effects of patch size and historical land use on woodland ants and myrmecochores (plant species that have their diaspores dispersed by ants) in mesic forests of the southern Appalachian Highlands. Our purpose was to examine a potential mechanism, the presence and diversity of seed-dispersing ants, that might explain the reduced abundance and diversity of myrmecochores in small forest patches with high intensities of past land use. Small patches (<25 ha) of forest harbored a greater abundance and diversity of myrmecochorous ants, but a lower abundance and species richness of myrmecochores than large patches (>200 ha) with minimal past land use. Overall, sites with greater myrmecochore species richness and abundance had less diverse ant communities and a lower abundance of ants. However, ant species composition varied with patch size. Large patches with low historical land-use intensity were dominated by one ant species, Aphaenogaster fulva , whereas small patches supported higher numbers of Aphaenogaster rudis and two Camponotus species. The abundances of immature myrmecochores were more strongly related to land-use history, forest patch size, and the abundance of mature conspecifics than to ant variables. An absence of seed-dispersing ants cannot explain the reduced numbers of myrmecochores in small patches with high past land use because seed dispersal by ants still appears to be available in those patches. Land-use legacies or fragmentation effects may be overriding any advantages offered by the increased diversity and abundance of ants at those sites.
Ecological Applications – Ecological Society of America
Published: Oct 1, 2002
Keywords: ants ; Appalachian Mountains ; Blue Ridge Mountains ; forest patch size ; fragmentation ; herbaceous vegetation ; land use ; myrmecochory ; North Carolina
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera