Monitoring changes in stressed ecosystems using spatial patterns of ant communities

TitleMonitoring changes in stressed ecosystems using spatial patterns of ant communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsNash M.S., Whitford WG, Van Zee JW, Havstad K
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring Assessment
Volume51
Pagination201-210
Date PublishedJune 1, 1998
Accession NumberJRN00258
ARIS Log Number096099
Abstract

We examined the feasibility of using changes in spatial patterns of ants-distnbution on experimental plots as an indicator of response to environmental stress. We produced contour maps based on relative abundances of the three most common genera of ants based on pit-fall trap captures. Relative abundance of Conomyrma spp. decreased, relative abundance of Solenopsis spp. increased, and relative abundance of Pogonomyrmex spp. remained relatively unchanged. The contour maps showed long-term changes in foraging activity and/or distribution of colonies of ants in response to grazing by domestic livestock. This study demonstrated that analysis of spatial patterns of ant activity derived from relative abundances of ants in pit-fall traps provided interpretable data for developing an indicator of exposure to ecosystem stress.

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DOI10.1023/A:1005939303426