Next Article in Journal
Recent History, Use and Forgetfulness of the Cypress Forest of Fontegreca (Southern Italy)
Next Article in Special Issue
Diversity and Distribution of the Dominant Ant Genus Anonychomyrma (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Australian Wet Tropics
Previous Article in Journal
Macroinvertebrate Taxonomic Richness in Minimally Disturbed Streams on the Southeastern USA Coastal Plain
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Coupled Influence of Thermal Physiology and Biotic Interactions on the Distribution and Density of Ant Species along an Elevational Gradient
Open AccessArticle

Do Dominant Ants Affect Secondary Productivity, Behavior and Diversity in a Guild of Woodland Ants?

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2
Department of Biology, Concordia University, Montreal, QC H4B-1R6, Canada
3
The Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA
4
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(12), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12120460
Received: 23 October 2020 / Revised: 27 November 2020 / Accepted: 29 November 2020 / Published: 2 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Biogeography and Community Ecology of Ants)
The degree to which competition by dominant species shapes ecological communities remains a largely unresolved debate. In ants, unimodal dominance–richness relationships are common and suggest that dominant species, when very abundant, competitively exclude non-dominant species. However, few studies have investigated the underlying mechanisms by which dominant ants might affect coexistence and the maintenance of species richness. In this study, we first examined the relationship between the richness of non-dominant ant species and the abundance of a dominant ant species, Formica subsericea, among forest ant assemblages in the eastern US. This relationship was hump-shaped or not significant depending on the inclusion or exclusion of an influential observation. Moreover, we found only limited evidence that F. subsericea negatively affects the productivity or behavior of non-dominant ant species. For example, at the colony-level, the size and productivity of colonies of non-dominant ant species were not different when they were in close proximity to dominant ant nests than when they were away and, in fact, was associated with increased productivity in one species. Additionally, the number of foraging workers of only one non-dominant ant species was lower at food sources near than far from dominant F. subsericea nests, while the number of foragers of other species was not negatively affected. However, foraging activity of the non-dominant ant species was greater at night when F. subsericea was inactive, suggesting a potential mechanism by which some non-dominant species avoid interactions with competitively superior species. Gaining a mechanistic understanding of how patterns of community structure arise requires linking processes from colonies to communities. Our study suggests the negative effects of dominant ant species on non-dominant species may be offset by mechanisms promoting coexistence. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioral interactions; coexistence; co-occurrence; competitive exclusion; dominance; Formicidae; scale behavioral interactions; coexistence; co-occurrence; competitive exclusion; dominance; Formicidae; scale
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Lessard, J.-P.; Stuble, K.L.; Sanders, N.J. Do Dominant Ants Affect Secondary Productivity, Behavior and Diversity in a Guild of Woodland Ants? Diversity 2020, 12, 460.

AMA Style

Lessard J-P, Stuble KL, Sanders NJ. Do Dominant Ants Affect Secondary Productivity, Behavior and Diversity in a Guild of Woodland Ants? Diversity. 2020; 12(12):460.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Stuble, Katharine L.; Sanders, Nathan J. 2020. "Do Dominant Ants Affect Secondary Productivity, Behavior and Diversity in a Guild of Woodland Ants?" Diversity 12, no. 12: 460.

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop