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Gall wasp community response to fragmentation of oak tree species: importance of fragment size and isolated trees

AutorMaldonado-López, Y.; Cuevas-Reyes, P.; Stone, Graham N.; Nieves-Aldrey, J. L. ; Oyama, K.
Palabras claveCynipids
Edge effect
Habitat fragmentation
Isolated trees
Lake Cuitzeo basin
Oak gall wasps
Plant vigor
Fecha de publicación2015
EditorEcological Society of America
CitaciónEcosphere 6(3):31 (2015)
ResumenWe explore the impact of habitat fragmentation on interactions between keystone resources of forest trees—oaks, genus Quercus (Fagaceae)—and an associated radiation of specialist cynipid gall wasps. Habitat fragmentation is predicted to have bottom-up impacts on cynipid communities through impacts on host plant quality (plant vigor hypothesis). We explored the bottom-up impacts on cynipid communities of habitat fragment size, fragment edge effects and presence of isolated oaks. We quantified temporal and spatial variation of leaves produced in the canopy to quantify plant vigor, and surveyed cynipid gall species abundance and richness over three years using 15 permanent forest patches and 25 isolated oaks in a fragmented oak woodland landscape in central Mexico. Cynipid gall abundance and species richness were higher in isolated oaks and small woodland fragments than in larger ones. Cynipid abundance and species richness were also higher along fragment edges in comparison with fragment interiors. This contrasts with patterns observed in other taxa. In addition, host plant quality was higher in isolated trees, in smaller fragments and along fragment edges. We therefore hypothesize that observed patterns in cynipid abundance and species richness are driven by changes in host plant quality due to forest fragmentation. Our data represent a baseline for longer-term monitoring of fragmentation effects at a landscape scale. Further work is required to explore alternative potential explanations for observed patterns, including the estimation of potential top-down impacts of fragmentation mediated by natural enemies.
DescripciónReceived 23 September 2014; revised 22 November 2014; accepted 8 December 2014; final version received 9 January 2015; published 18 March 2015
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES14-00355.1
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