Non-destructive biomass estimation of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies

A model species for the ecological impact of ants

Christian Pinkalski, Christian Damgaard, Karl-Martin Jensen, Rene Gislum, Renkang Peng, J Offenberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    1. In most ecosystems, ants are a dominant part of the arthropod community. A thorough understanding of their ecological impact, however, has been hampered by limited availability of data on ant abundance. Therefore, we developed a method allowing quick and non-destructive estimates of the biomass of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies in mango plantations.

    2. The method was based on assessments of ant nest volume in relation to ant trail density and biomass content in relation to nest volume. The relationships between these variables were modelled using Bayesian latent variable models. The resulting models predicted ant biomass from ant trail activity with a maximum uncertainty of approximately 75% of the predicted value.

    3. Five O. smaragdina colonies assessed in a mango plantation, ranged in size from 0.67 to 2.98 kg total ant biomass (fresh wt) and 84.578–376.635 workers for the smallest and largest colony respectively. Correspondingly, the density of ants in the plantation was 254 workers m−2 and a total biomass of 2.0 g ant fresh wt m−2.

    4. With this proposed method, estimates of O. smaragdina abundance can be obtained non-destructively with a minimum of workload and it enables the scaling up of physiological experiments on per capita rates. Thus, O. smaragdina can serve as a model species providing information on the impact of ants in tropical ecosystems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)464-473
    Number of pages10
    JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
    Volume8
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

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    Oecophylla smaragdina
    ecological impact
    ant
    Formicidae
    biomass
    mangoes
    plantations
    arthropod communities
    ant nests
    nest
    ecosystems
    plantation
    uncertainty
    methodology
    nests
    arthropod

    Cite this

    Pinkalski, Christian ; Damgaard, Christian ; Jensen, Karl-Martin ; Gislum, Rene ; Peng, Renkang ; Offenberg, J. / Non-destructive biomass estimation of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies : A model species for the ecological impact of ants. In: Insect Conservation and Diversity. 2015 ; Vol. 8, No. 5. pp. 464-473.
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    abstract = "1. In most ecosystems, ants are a dominant part of the arthropod community. A thorough understanding of their ecological impact, however, has been hampered by limited availability of data on ant abundance. Therefore, we developed a method allowing quick and non-destructive estimates of the biomass of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies in mango plantations.2. The method was based on assessments of ant nest volume in relation to ant trail density and biomass content in relation to nest volume. The relationships between these variables were modelled using Bayesian latent variable models. The resulting models predicted ant biomass from ant trail activity with a maximum uncertainty of approximately 75{\%} of the predicted value.3. Five O. smaragdina colonies assessed in a mango plantation, ranged in size from 0.67 to 2.98 kg total ant biomass (fresh wt) and 84.578–376.635 workers for the smallest and largest colony respectively. Correspondingly, the density of ants in the plantation was 254 workers m−2 and a total biomass of 2.0 g ant fresh wt m−2.4. With this proposed method, estimates of O. smaragdina abundance can be obtained non-destructively with a minimum of workload and it enables the scaling up of physiological experiments on per capita rates. Thus, O. smaragdina can serve as a model species providing information on the impact of ants in tropical ecosystems.",
    author = "Christian Pinkalski and Christian Damgaard and Karl-Martin Jensen and Rene Gislum and Renkang Peng and J Offenberg",
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    Non-destructive biomass estimation of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies : A model species for the ecological impact of ants. / Pinkalski, Christian; Damgaard, Christian; Jensen, Karl-Martin; Gislum, Rene; Peng, Renkang; Offenberg, J.

    In: Insect Conservation and Diversity, Vol. 8, No. 5, 09.2015, p. 464-473.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    T2 - A model species for the ecological impact of ants

    AU - Pinkalski, Christian

    AU - Damgaard, Christian

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    N2 - 1. In most ecosystems, ants are a dominant part of the arthropod community. A thorough understanding of their ecological impact, however, has been hampered by limited availability of data on ant abundance. Therefore, we developed a method allowing quick and non-destructive estimates of the biomass of Oecophylla smaragdina colonies in mango plantations.2. The method was based on assessments of ant nest volume in relation to ant trail density and biomass content in relation to nest volume. The relationships between these variables were modelled using Bayesian latent variable models. The resulting models predicted ant biomass from ant trail activity with a maximum uncertainty of approximately 75% of the predicted value.3. Five O. smaragdina colonies assessed in a mango plantation, ranged in size from 0.67 to 2.98 kg total ant biomass (fresh wt) and 84.578–376.635 workers for the smallest and largest colony respectively. Correspondingly, the density of ants in the plantation was 254 workers m−2 and a total biomass of 2.0 g ant fresh wt m−2.4. With this proposed method, estimates of O. smaragdina abundance can be obtained non-destructively with a minimum of workload and it enables the scaling up of physiological experiments on per capita rates. Thus, O. smaragdina can serve as a model species providing information on the impact of ants in tropical ecosystems.

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