Although ants are regarded as playing crucial roles in ecosystems, there have been few experimental studies that have documented the depth and breadth of their influence on ecosystem function. This includes an understanding of ant compensatory responses from other taxa that might occur. Ant communities are typically comprised of a small number of highly abundant species that dominate ant biomass, and therefore can be expected to perform most of the ant-mediated ecosystem functions. Ant communities also include variable numbers of behaviourally submissive species and it is unclear if these have the capacity to compensate for the loss of dominant species. This issue is most effectively addressed through the experimental removal of numerically dominant ants.
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