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SEMINARI: 'Responses of harvester ants to grazing in the Monte Desert, Argentina'
Human-induced rapid environmental change may decrease food resources and create unfavorable conditions for native species. Organisms showing a flexible foraging behavior can exploit novel or alternative foods and are more likely to persist, whereas less flexible organisms might suffer starvation and numerical reductions.
This study assessed whether declines in the quality and availability of seeds prompted by grazing provoke behavioral and numerical responses in Pogonomyrmex mendozanus ants, and aimed to test whether behavioral flexibility buffers habitat degradation and prevents numerical declines.
Rodrigo Pol is ecologist at the Desert Community Ecology Research Team (ECODES) in the Argentine Dryland Research Institute (IADIZA-CONICET) and a professor at the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. For the past several years, the focus of his work has been on impacts of habitat degradation (e.g., grazing, fragmentation) on ant-plant interactions.