Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga

Fernanda M.P. Oliveira, Alan N. Andersen, Xavier Arnan, José D. Ribeiro-Neto, Gabriela B. Arcoverde, Inara R. Leal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    1. Anthropogenic disturbance and climate change are the main drivers of biodiversity loss and ecological services around the globe. There is concern that climate change will exacerbate the impacts of disturbance and thereby promote biotic homogenization, but its consequences for ecological services are unknown. 

    2. We investigated the individual and interactive effects of increasing chronic anthropogenic disturbance (CAD) and aridity on seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil. 

    3. The study was conducted in Catimbau National Park, Pernambuco, Brazil. Within an area of 214 km 2 , we established nineteen 50 × 20 m plots that encompassed gradients of both CAD and aridity. We offered diaspores of six plant species, three myrmecochorous diaspores and three fleshy fruits that are secondarily dispersed by ants. We then quantified the number of interactions, seed removal rate and dispersal distances, and noted the identities of interacting ant species. Finally, we used pitfall trap data to quantify the abundances of ant disperser species in each plot. 

    4. Our results show that overall composition of ant disperser species varied along the gradients of CAD and aridity, but the composition of high-quality dispersers varied only with aridity. The total number of interactions, rates of removal and mean distance of removal all declined with increasing aridity, but they were not related to CAD. These same patterns were found when considering only high-quality disperser species, driven by the responses of the dominant disperser Dinoponera quadriceps. We found little evidence of interactive effects of CAD and aridity on seed dispersal services by ants. 

    5. Our study indicates that CAD and aridity act independently on ant-mediated seed dispersal services in Caatinga, such that the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance are unlikely to change under the forecast climate of increased aridity. However, our findings highlight the vulnerability of seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga under an increasingly arid climate due to low functional redundancy in high-quality disperser species. Given the large number of plant species dependent on ants for seed dispersal, this has important implications for future plant recruitment and, consequently, for the composition of Caatinga plant communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)870-880
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
    Volume88
    Issue number6
    Early online date18 Mar 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Fingerprint

    caatinga
    dry environmental conditions
    seed dispersal
    aridity
    anthropogenic activities
    ant
    Formicidae
    disturbance
    diaspore
    Dinoponera
    climate change
    Brazil
    effect
    pitfall traps
    pitfall trap
    homogenization
    climate
    arid zones
    long term effects
    plant communities

    Cite this

    Oliveira, F. M. P., Andersen, A. N., Arnan, X., Ribeiro-Neto, J. D., Arcoverde, G. B., & Leal, I. R. (2019). Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(6), 870-880. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12979
    Oliveira, Fernanda M.P. ; Andersen, Alan N. ; Arnan, Xavier ; Ribeiro-Neto, José D. ; Arcoverde, Gabriela B. ; Leal, Inara R. / Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga. In: Journal of Animal Ecology. 2019 ; Vol. 88, No. 6. pp. 870-880.
    @article{709c2f1065f34a538958d398606c3559,
    title = "Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga",
    abstract = "1. Anthropogenic disturbance and climate change are the main drivers of biodiversity loss and ecological services around the globe. There is concern that climate change will exacerbate the impacts of disturbance and thereby promote biotic homogenization, but its consequences for ecological services are unknown. 2. We investigated the individual and interactive effects of increasing chronic anthropogenic disturbance (CAD) and aridity on seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil. 3. The study was conducted in Catimbau National Park, Pernambuco, Brazil. Within an area of 214 km 2 , we established nineteen 50 × 20 m plots that encompassed gradients of both CAD and aridity. We offered diaspores of six plant species, three myrmecochorous diaspores and three fleshy fruits that are secondarily dispersed by ants. We then quantified the number of interactions, seed removal rate and dispersal distances, and noted the identities of interacting ant species. Finally, we used pitfall trap data to quantify the abundances of ant disperser species in each plot. 4. Our results show that overall composition of ant disperser species varied along the gradients of CAD and aridity, but the composition of high-quality dispersers varied only with aridity. The total number of interactions, rates of removal and mean distance of removal all declined with increasing aridity, but they were not related to CAD. These same patterns were found when considering only high-quality disperser species, driven by the responses of the dominant disperser Dinoponera quadriceps. We found little evidence of interactive effects of CAD and aridity on seed dispersal services by ants. 5. Our study indicates that CAD and aridity act independently on ant-mediated seed dispersal services in Caatinga, such that the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance are unlikely to change under the forecast climate of increased aridity. However, our findings highlight the vulnerability of seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga under an increasingly arid climate due to low functional redundancy in high-quality disperser species. Given the large number of plant species dependent on ants for seed dispersal, this has important implications for future plant recruitment and, consequently, for the composition of Caatinga plant communities.",
    keywords = "ant–plant mutualism, biotic interactions, climate change, human disturbance, seasonally dry tropical forest",
    author = "Oliveira, {Fernanda M.P.} and Andersen, {Alan N.} and Xavier Arnan and Ribeiro-Neto, {Jos{\'e} D.} and Arcoverde, {Gabriela B.} and Leal, {Inara R.}",
    year = "2019",
    month = "6",
    doi = "10.1111/1365-2656.12979",
    language = "English",
    volume = "88",
    pages = "870--880",
    journal = "Journal of Animal Ecology",
    issn = "0021-8790",
    publisher = "British Ecological Society and Blackwell Science",
    number = "6",

    }

    Oliveira, FMP, Andersen, AN, Arnan, X, Ribeiro-Neto, JD, Arcoverde, GB & Leal, IR 2019, 'Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 88, no. 6, pp. 870-880. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12979

    Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga. / Oliveira, Fernanda M.P.; Andersen, Alan N.; Arnan, Xavier; Ribeiro-Neto, José D.; Arcoverde, Gabriela B.; Leal, Inara R.

    In: Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 88, No. 6, 06.2019, p. 870-880.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Effects of increasing aridity and chronic anthropogenic disturbance on seed dispersal by ants in Brazilian Caatinga

    AU - Oliveira, Fernanda M.P.

    AU - Andersen, Alan N.

    AU - Arnan, Xavier

    AU - Ribeiro-Neto, José D.

    AU - Arcoverde, Gabriela B.

    AU - Leal, Inara R.

    PY - 2019/6

    Y1 - 2019/6

    N2 - 1. Anthropogenic disturbance and climate change are the main drivers of biodiversity loss and ecological services around the globe. There is concern that climate change will exacerbate the impacts of disturbance and thereby promote biotic homogenization, but its consequences for ecological services are unknown. 2. We investigated the individual and interactive effects of increasing chronic anthropogenic disturbance (CAD) and aridity on seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil. 3. The study was conducted in Catimbau National Park, Pernambuco, Brazil. Within an area of 214 km 2 , we established nineteen 50 × 20 m plots that encompassed gradients of both CAD and aridity. We offered diaspores of six plant species, three myrmecochorous diaspores and three fleshy fruits that are secondarily dispersed by ants. We then quantified the number of interactions, seed removal rate and dispersal distances, and noted the identities of interacting ant species. Finally, we used pitfall trap data to quantify the abundances of ant disperser species in each plot. 4. Our results show that overall composition of ant disperser species varied along the gradients of CAD and aridity, but the composition of high-quality dispersers varied only with aridity. The total number of interactions, rates of removal and mean distance of removal all declined with increasing aridity, but they were not related to CAD. These same patterns were found when considering only high-quality disperser species, driven by the responses of the dominant disperser Dinoponera quadriceps. We found little evidence of interactive effects of CAD and aridity on seed dispersal services by ants. 5. Our study indicates that CAD and aridity act independently on ant-mediated seed dispersal services in Caatinga, such that the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance are unlikely to change under the forecast climate of increased aridity. However, our findings highlight the vulnerability of seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga under an increasingly arid climate due to low functional redundancy in high-quality disperser species. Given the large number of plant species dependent on ants for seed dispersal, this has important implications for future plant recruitment and, consequently, for the composition of Caatinga plant communities.

    AB - 1. Anthropogenic disturbance and climate change are the main drivers of biodiversity loss and ecological services around the globe. There is concern that climate change will exacerbate the impacts of disturbance and thereby promote biotic homogenization, but its consequences for ecological services are unknown. 2. We investigated the individual and interactive effects of increasing chronic anthropogenic disturbance (CAD) and aridity on seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil. 3. The study was conducted in Catimbau National Park, Pernambuco, Brazil. Within an area of 214 km 2 , we established nineteen 50 × 20 m plots that encompassed gradients of both CAD and aridity. We offered diaspores of six plant species, three myrmecochorous diaspores and three fleshy fruits that are secondarily dispersed by ants. We then quantified the number of interactions, seed removal rate and dispersal distances, and noted the identities of interacting ant species. Finally, we used pitfall trap data to quantify the abundances of ant disperser species in each plot. 4. Our results show that overall composition of ant disperser species varied along the gradients of CAD and aridity, but the composition of high-quality dispersers varied only with aridity. The total number of interactions, rates of removal and mean distance of removal all declined with increasing aridity, but they were not related to CAD. These same patterns were found when considering only high-quality disperser species, driven by the responses of the dominant disperser Dinoponera quadriceps. We found little evidence of interactive effects of CAD and aridity on seed dispersal services by ants. 5. Our study indicates that CAD and aridity act independently on ant-mediated seed dispersal services in Caatinga, such that the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance are unlikely to change under the forecast climate of increased aridity. However, our findings highlight the vulnerability of seed dispersal services provided by ants in Caatinga under an increasingly arid climate due to low functional redundancy in high-quality disperser species. Given the large number of plant species dependent on ants for seed dispersal, this has important implications for future plant recruitment and, consequently, for the composition of Caatinga plant communities.

    KW - ant–plant mutualism

    KW - biotic interactions

    KW - climate change

    KW - human disturbance

    KW - seasonally dry tropical forest

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85064174234&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1111/1365-2656.12979

    DO - 10.1111/1365-2656.12979

    M3 - Article

    VL - 88

    SP - 870

    EP - 880

    JO - Journal of Animal Ecology

    JF - Journal of Animal Ecology

    SN - 0021-8790

    IS - 6

    ER -