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Open AccessArticle

Boreal Sand Hills are Areas of High Diversity for Boreal Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada
Northern Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada—Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S52, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(2), 22;
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
The boreal forest in Canada comprises a wide variety of ecosystems, including stabilized (overgrown) sand dunes, often referred to as sand hills. Globally, sandy soils are known for supporting a high diversity of invertebrates, including ants, but little is known for boreal systems. We used pitfall trap sampling in sand hill, aspen parkland and peatland ecosystems to compare their ant diversity and test the prediction that areas with sandy soils have higher invertebrate diversity compared to more mesic/organic soils. Overall, sand hills had ~45% more ant species compared to other sampled ecosystems from Alberta. Similar to other studies, local canopy cover within sand hills was found to be inversely related to ant species richness and diversity. Although sand hills are rare across the region, they are high biodiversity areas for ants, with the sand hills of north-central Alberta having higher species richness of ants compared to other studied areas in Canada. View Full-Text
Keywords: Formicidae; ants; sand hills; biodiversity; boreal Formicidae; ants; sand hills; biodiversity; boreal
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Glasier, J.R.; Nielsen, S.E.; Acorn, J.; Pinzon, J. Boreal Sand Hills are Areas of High Diversity for Boreal Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Diversity 2019, 11, 22.

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