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Competitive dominance in the organisation of Mediterranean ant communities

AutorBlight, Olivier; Orgeas, Jerome; Torre, Franck; Provost, Erick
Palabras claveDominant ants
Community organisation
Species co-occurrence
Fecha de publicación2014
CitaciónEcological Entomology 39: 595- 602 (2014)
Resumen1. Competition by dominant species is thought to be key to structuring ant communities. However, recent findings suggest that the effect of dominant species on communities is less pronounced than previously assumed. 2. The aim of the present study was to identify the role of dominant ants in the organisation of Mediterranean communities, particularly the role of competition in invaded and uninvaded communities. The effects on ant assemblages of two dominant ants, the invasive Argentine ant and the native ant, Tapinoma nigerrimum Nylander, were assessed. 3. The abundances of both dominant ants were significantly correlated with a decrease in native ant richness at traps. However, only the invasive ant was associated with a reduction in diversity and abundance of other ant species at site scale. In the presence of T. nigerrimum, species co-occurrence patterns were segregated or random. Community structure in both the dominant-free and the Argentine ant sites showed random patterns of species co-occurrence. 4. The present findings indicate that dominant ants regulate small-scale diversity by competition. However, at the broader scale of the assemblage, T. nigerrimum may only affect species distribution, having no apparent effect on community composition. Moreover, we find no evidence that inter-specific competition shapes species distribution in coastal Mediterranean communities free of dominant ants. 5. These results show that dominant species may affect ant assemblages but that the nature and the intensity of such effects are species and scale dependent. This confirms the hypothesis that competitive dominance may be only one of a range of factors that structure ant communities.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1111/een.12137
issn: 1365-2311
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