Dominance–diversity relationships in ant communities differ with invasion

Arnan X., Andersen A.N., Gibb H., Parr C.L., Sanders N.J., Dunn R.R., Angulo E., Baccaro F.B., Bishop T.R., Boulay R., Castracani C., Cerdá X., Toro I.D., Delsinne T., Donoso D.A., Elten E.K., Fayle T.M., Fitzpatrick M.C., Gómez C., Grasso D.A., Grossman B.F., Guénard B., Gunawardene N., Heterick B., Hoffmann B.D., Janda M., Jenkins C.N., Klimes P., Lach L., Laeger T., Leponce M., Lucky A., Majer J., Menke S., Mezger D., Mori A., Moses J., Munyai T.C., Paknia O., Pfeiffer M., Philpott S.M., Souza J.L.P., Tista M., Vasconcelos H.L., Retana J. (2018) Dominance–diversity relationships in ant communities differ with invasion. Global Change Biology. 24: 4614-4625.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.14331

Abstract:

The relationship between levels of dominance and species richness is highly contentious, especially in ant communities. The dominance-impoverishment rule states that high levels of dominance only occur in species-poor communities, but there appear to be many cases of high levels of dominance in highly diverse communities. The extent to which dominant species limit local richness through competitive exclusion remains unclear, but such exclusion appears more apparent for non-native rather than native dominant species. Here we perform the first global analysis of the relationship between behavioral dominance and species richness. We used data from 1,293 local assemblages of ground-dwelling ants distributed across five continents to document the generality of the dominance-impoverishment rule, and to identify the biotic and abiotic conditions under which it does and does not apply. We found that the behavioral dominance–diversity relationship varies greatly, and depends on whether dominant species are native or non-native, whether dominance is considered as occurrence or relative abundance, and on variation in mean annual temperature. There were declines in diversity with increasing dominance in invaded communities, but diversity increased with increasing dominance in native communities. These patterns occur along the global temperature gradient. However, positive and negative relationships are strongest in the hottest sites. We also found that climate regulates the degree of behavioral dominance, but differently from how it shapes species richness. Our findings imply that, despite strong competitive interactions among ants, competitive exclusion is not a major driver of local richness in native ant communities. Although the dominance-impoverishment rule applies to invaded communities, we propose an alternative dominance-diversification rule for native communities. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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Habitat disturbance selects against both small and large species across varying climates

Gibb H., Sanders N.J., Dunn R.R., Arnan X., Vasconcelos H.L., Donoso D.A., Andersen A.N., Silva R.R., Bishop T.R., Gomez C., Grossman B.F., Yusah K.M., Luke S.H., Pacheco R., Pearce-Duvet J., Retana J., Tista M., Parr C.L. (2018) Habitat disturbance selects against both small and large species across varying climates. Ecography. 41: 1184-1193.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/ecog.03244

Abstract:

Global extinction drivers, including habitat disturbance and climate change, are thought to affect larger species more than smaller species. However, it is unclear if such drivers interact to affect assemblage body size distributions. We asked how these two key global change drivers differentially affect the interspecific size distributions of ants, one of the most abundant and ubiquitous animal groups on earth. We also asked whether there is evidence of synergistic interactions and whether effects are related to species’ trophic roles. We generated a global dataset on ant body size from 333 local ant assemblages collected by the authors across a broad range of climates and in disturbed and undisturbed habitats. We used head length (range: 0.22–4.55 mm) as a surrogate of body size and classified species to trophic groups. We used generalized linear models to test whether body size distributions changed with climate and disturbance, independent of species richness. Our analysis yielded three key results: 1) climate and disturbance showed independent associations with body size; 2) assemblages included more small species in warmer climates and fewer large species in wet climates; and 3) both the largest and smallest species were absent from disturbed ecosystems, with predators most affected in both cases. Our results indicate that temperature, precipitation and disturbance have differing effects on the body size distributions of local communities, with no evidence of synergistic interactions. Further, both large and small predators may be vulnerable to global change, particularly through habitat disturbance. © 2017 The Authors

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