Grazing by large savanna herbivores indirectly alters ant diversity and promotes resource monopolisation

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dc.contributor.author Purdon, Jean
dc.contributor.author Parr, Catherine L.
dc.contributor.author Somers, Michael J.
dc.date.accessioned 2020-08-24T08:34:46Z
dc.date.available 2020-08-24T08:34:46Z
dc.date.issued 2019-01
dc.description Supplemental Information 1: Raw Data for the discovery, dominance and monopolisation of baits by ants in the manipulated and natural experiments. It also includes data on ant assemblages from the pitfall traps and the sizes of ants found in both the experimental and natural experime. en_ZA
dc.description Supplemental Information 2: A Visual representation of the manipulated experiments en_ZA
dc.description.abstract In savannas, grazing is an important disturbance that modifies the grass layer structure and composition. Habitat structural complexity influences species diversity and assemblage functioning. By using a combination of natural sites and manipulated experiments, we explored how habitat structure (grazing lawns and adjacent bunch grass) affects ant diversity and foraging behaviour, specifically the efficiency of resource acquisition, resource monopolisation and ant body size. We found that in the natural sites there was no difference in the amount of time ants took to locate resources, but in the manipulated experiments, ants were faster at locating resources and were more abundant in the simple treatments than in the more complex treatments. Ant body size was only affected by the manipulated experiments, with smaller ants found in the more complex treatments. In both the grazing lawn and bunch grass habitats there were differences in assemblage patterns of ants discovering resources and those dominating them. Seasonality, which was predicted to affect the speed at which ants discovered resources and the intensity of resource monopolisation, also played a role. We show that ants in winter monopolised more baits and discovered resources at a slower rate, but only at certain times within the experiment. Grazing in conjunction with season thus had a significant effect on ant diversity and foraging behaviour, with dominant ants promoted where habitat complexity was simplified when temperatures were low. Our results indicate that structural complexity plays a major role in determining ant assemblage structure and function in African savannas. en_ZA
dc.description.department Mammal Research Institute en_ZA
dc.description.librarian pm2020 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion biology, the NRF through incentive funding and the Trapnell Fund. en_ZA
dc.description.uri https://peerj.com en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Purdon J, Parr CL, Somers MJ. 2019. Grazing by large savanna herbivores indirectly alters ant diversity and promotes resource monopolisation. PeerJ 7:e6226 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6226. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2167-8359 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.7717/peerj.6226
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/75866
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher PeerJ en_ZA
dc.rights © 2019 Purdon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_ZA
dc.subject Biodiversity en_ZA
dc.subject Conservation Biology en_ZA
dc.subject Ecology en_ZA
dc.subject Entomology en_ZA
dc.subject Zoology en_ZA
dc.subject Ants en_ZA
dc.subject Grazing lawns en_ZA
dc.subject Bunch grass en_ZA
dc.subject Resource monopolisation en_ZA
dc.subject Competitive interactions en_ZA
dc.subject Assemblages en_ZA
dc.subject Body size en_ZA
dc.subject Herbivory en_ZA
dc.title Grazing by large savanna herbivores indirectly alters ant diversity and promotes resource monopolisation en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


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