Mechanisms of species coexistence and functional diversity of ant assemblages in forest and pasture habitats in southwestern Brazilian Amazon
Keywords:Co-occurrence, Formicidae, Morphological Traits, Niche, Resources
In this study, we investigated the mechanisms behind species coexistence and the relationships between functional diversity and species richness in ant assemblages in both forest and pasture habitats in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. We addressed the specific question: What is the primary mechanism for species coexistence in forest and pasture habitats? According to the identified mechanism in each habitat, we had the following alternative expectations: (i) niche partitioning – we expected to observe a linear positive relationship between functional diversity and species richness, indicating a complementary relationship; or (ii) niche filtering – a positive constant asymptotic relation between functional diversity and species richness, indicating a functional redundancy relationship. In total, we sampled 91 ant species, 82 species in a forest habitat and 16, in a pasture habitat. In the forest habitat we identified niche filtering as the structuring mechanism of the ant assemblage, but we were unable to identify a clear mechanism in the pasture habitat. Although the relationship between functional diversity and species richness was positive in both habitats, the relationship was weaker in the forest habitat, indicating a greater functional redundancy among the ant species in this habitat. Our results reinforce the divergence of species coexistence mechanisms and ant assemblage structures in both natural and human-modified habitats in the Southwestern Brazilian Amazon.
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