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Ant community structure on a small Pacific island: Only one native species living with the invaders

AuthorsCerdá, Xim ; Angulo, Elena ; Caut, Stéphane ; Courchamp, Franck
Issue Date2012
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
CitationBiological Invasions 14: 323- 339 (2012)
AbstractIn most studies about ant communities, species are grouped into competitive hierarchies where top dominants drive the majority of other species away from resources. Nevertheless, in some ecosystems high ground temperatures may disrupt this hierarchical organization. Other changes in community structure are caused by the arrival of invasive ant species, which rapidly disassemble local communities. We studied the effects of competition and temperature on ant community organization on Surprise Island (New Caledonia). Four different habitats were distinguished: a central plain, a sea shore Argusia shrubland, a dense Scaveola shrub, and an arboreal Pisonia strata. Eight ant species were identified from pitfall traps (seven introduced and only one native species, Pheidole oceanica). Ant assemblages in each habitat had a different ecologically dominant species, and a dominant species in one habitat could be non-dominant and less abundant in another. From interactions at baits, we built a competitive hierarchy where the top dominant species was the native Ph. oceanica. Daily foraging activity rhythms of the different species mostly overlapped. The relationship between bait occupation and ground temperature followed a negative linear pattern at all sites and for most species, except for the relatively thermophilous Monomorium floricola. Indices of co-occurrence in pitfall traps indicated that species co-occurred randomly with respect to one another. Conversely, species appeared to be segregated when we examined co-occurrence at baits at the sites where Ph. oceanica was abundant. Oceanic islands are very susceptible to alien species, but on Surprise Island it seems that the sole native species dominates in some habitats when confronted by invasive species. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10530-011-0065-0
issn: 1387-3547
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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