Invasive ants as back-seat drivers of native ant diversity decline in New Caledonia

Maia Berman, Alan Andersen, Thomas Ibanez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Biological invasions are typically associated with disturbance, which often makes their impact on biodiversity unclear-biodiversity decline might be driven by disturbance, with the invader just being a 'passenger'. Alternatively, an invader may act as a 'back-seat driver', being facilitated by disturbance that has already caused some biodiversity decline, but then causing further decline. Here we examine the interactive effects of anthropogenic fire and invasive ant species (Anoplolepis gracilipes or Wasmannia auropunctata) on native ant diversity in New Caledonia, a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot. We first examined native ant diversity at nine paired burnt and unburnt sites, with four pairs invaded by Anoplolepis, 5 years after an extensive fire. In the absence of invasion, native epigaeic ants were resilient to fire, but native ant richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists were markedly lower in invaded burnt sites. Second, we examined native ant diversity along successional gradients from human-derived savanna to natural rainforest in the long-term absence of fire, where there was a disconnection between disturbance-mediated variation in microhabitat and the abundance of the disturbance specialist Wasmannia. All native ant diversity responses (total abundance, richness, species composition, functional group richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists) declined independently of microhabitat variables but in direct association with high Wasmannia abundance. Our results indicate that invasive ants are acting as back-seat drivers of biodiversity decline in New Caledonia, with invasion facilitated by disturbance but then causing further biodiversity decline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2311-2331
    Number of pages21
    JournalBiological Invasions
    Volume15
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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    seats
    New Caledonia
    ant
    Formicidae
    biodiversity
    disturbance
    Wasmannia
    microhabitat
    microhabitats
    Anoplolepis
    Anoplolepis gracilipes
    Wasmannia auropunctata
    biological invasion
    rainforest
    savanna
    functional group
    rain forests
    anthropogenic activities
    savannas
    species richness

    Cite this

    Berman, Maia ; Andersen, Alan ; Ibanez, Thomas. / Invasive ants as back-seat drivers of native ant diversity decline in New Caledonia. In: Biological Invasions. 2013 ; Vol. 15. pp. 2311-2331.
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    abstract = "Biological invasions are typically associated with disturbance, which often makes their impact on biodiversity unclear-biodiversity decline might be driven by disturbance, with the invader just being a 'passenger'. Alternatively, an invader may act as a 'back-seat driver', being facilitated by disturbance that has already caused some biodiversity decline, but then causing further decline. Here we examine the interactive effects of anthropogenic fire and invasive ant species (Anoplolepis gracilipes or Wasmannia auropunctata) on native ant diversity in New Caledonia, a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot. We first examined native ant diversity at nine paired burnt and unburnt sites, with four pairs invaded by Anoplolepis, 5 years after an extensive fire. In the absence of invasion, native epigaeic ants were resilient to fire, but native ant richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists were markedly lower in invaded burnt sites. Second, we examined native ant diversity along successional gradients from human-derived savanna to natural rainforest in the long-term absence of fire, where there was a disconnection between disturbance-mediated variation in microhabitat and the abundance of the disturbance specialist Wasmannia. All native ant diversity responses (total abundance, richness, species composition, functional group richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists) declined independently of microhabitat variables but in direct association with high Wasmannia abundance. Our results indicate that invasive ants are acting as back-seat drivers of biodiversity decline in New Caledonia, with invasion facilitated by disturbance but then causing further biodiversity decline.",
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    Invasive ants as back-seat drivers of native ant diversity decline in New Caledonia. / Berman, Maia; Andersen, Alan; Ibanez, Thomas.

    In: Biological Invasions, Vol. 15, 10.2013, p. 2311-2331.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    T1 - Invasive ants as back-seat drivers of native ant diversity decline in New Caledonia

    AU - Berman, Maia

    AU - Andersen, Alan

    AU - Ibanez, Thomas

    PY - 2013/10

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    N2 - Biological invasions are typically associated with disturbance, which often makes their impact on biodiversity unclear-biodiversity decline might be driven by disturbance, with the invader just being a 'passenger'. Alternatively, an invader may act as a 'back-seat driver', being facilitated by disturbance that has already caused some biodiversity decline, but then causing further decline. Here we examine the interactive effects of anthropogenic fire and invasive ant species (Anoplolepis gracilipes or Wasmannia auropunctata) on native ant diversity in New Caledonia, a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot. We first examined native ant diversity at nine paired burnt and unburnt sites, with four pairs invaded by Anoplolepis, 5 years after an extensive fire. In the absence of invasion, native epigaeic ants were resilient to fire, but native ant richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists were markedly lower in invaded burnt sites. Second, we examined native ant diversity along successional gradients from human-derived savanna to natural rainforest in the long-term absence of fire, where there was a disconnection between disturbance-mediated variation in microhabitat and the abundance of the disturbance specialist Wasmannia. All native ant diversity responses (total abundance, richness, species composition, functional group richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists) declined independently of microhabitat variables but in direct association with high Wasmannia abundance. Our results indicate that invasive ants are acting as back-seat drivers of biodiversity decline in New Caledonia, with invasion facilitated by disturbance but then causing further biodiversity decline.

    AB - Biological invasions are typically associated with disturbance, which often makes their impact on biodiversity unclear-biodiversity decline might be driven by disturbance, with the invader just being a 'passenger'. Alternatively, an invader may act as a 'back-seat driver', being facilitated by disturbance that has already caused some biodiversity decline, but then causing further decline. Here we examine the interactive effects of anthropogenic fire and invasive ant species (Anoplolepis gracilipes or Wasmannia auropunctata) on native ant diversity in New Caledonia, a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot. We first examined native ant diversity at nine paired burnt and unburnt sites, with four pairs invaded by Anoplolepis, 5 years after an extensive fire. In the absence of invasion, native epigaeic ants were resilient to fire, but native ant richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists were markedly lower in invaded burnt sites. Second, we examined native ant diversity along successional gradients from human-derived savanna to natural rainforest in the long-term absence of fire, where there was a disconnection between disturbance-mediated variation in microhabitat and the abundance of the disturbance specialist Wasmannia. All native ant diversity responses (total abundance, richness, species composition, functional group richness and the abundance of Forest Opportunists) declined independently of microhabitat variables but in direct association with high Wasmannia abundance. Our results indicate that invasive ants are acting as back-seat drivers of biodiversity decline in New Caledonia, with invasion facilitated by disturbance but then causing further biodiversity decline.

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    KW - biological invasion

    KW - functional group

    KW - habitat loss

    KW - invasive species

    KW - microhabitat

    KW - population decline

    KW - rainforest

    KW - savanna

    KW - specialist

    KW - species diversity

    KW - wildfire

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    DO - 10.1007/s10530-013-0455-6

    M3 - Article

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    JO - Biological Invasions

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    SN - 1387-3547

    ER -