Does energy flux determine ant diversity? A case study in an arid ecosystem

TitleDoes energy flux determine ant diversity? A case study in an arid ecosystem
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsRio-Casanova L., Bestelmeyer B
Conference Name93rd Ecological Society of America Annual Meetings
Date PublishedAugust 3, 2008
ARIS Log Number230407
Keywordsant, diversity, energy
AbstractAnts are highly diverse, widespread, and abundant organisms playing important roles in ecosystem functioning. For these reasons, it is useful to know what structures their diversity. Biodiversity is ultimately constrained by energy availability and the relationship between energy and diversity has been considered at global scales. Energy flux measured as net primary productivity (NPP), however, also varies considerably at landscape scales. In this work, we asked if patterns of ant diversity within a landscape can be predicted by variation in energy flux. To answer this question, we studied ant biodiversity and its relationship to NPP in the Chihuahuan Desert. This study was carried out at the Jornada Basin in southern New Mexico, in a portion of about 100,000 ha that comprises a variety of soils and geomorphology that result in substantial differences in NPP. We measured the peak standing crop biomass (as a proxy for NPP) of 20 sites that comprise 5 different types of vegetation states (grasslands, shrublands and ecotones between them), as well as the richness, abundance and biomass of ants.