Effects of Habitat Conversion on Ant Functional Groups: A Global Review

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v68i2.6071

Keywords:

Insects, Land use, Land cover, Disturbance, Habitat simplification

Abstract

Conversion of natural to anthropogenic environments affects biodiversity, and the understanding of these impacts may be improved by assessing how different functional groups respond to such land conversion. We studied land conversion impacts on ant functional groups, as ants are ecologically important and respond well to various environmental changes. We hypothesized that conversion of natural to anthropogenic environments modifies the composition of functional groups, fostering generalist and opportunistic groups over specialist ones, with more responses of this type in tropical than in temperate regions. We recovered 412 papers from ISI Web of Science, of which we selected 17 studies, published between 1993 and 2018, that addressed our study’s question. We assessed whether each functional group responded positively or negatively to conversion of natural habitat into anthropogenic land uses and used Monte Carlo tests to assess significance. Ants were affected by natural habitat conversion into monoculture and polyculture and by the conversion of savannas and of tropical and subtropical forests. Land conversion affected six of the 13 functional groups assessed here. In the temperate zone, cryptic species, predators, subordinate Camponotini, cold-climate specialists and tropical-climate specialists were impaired, whereas hot-climate specialists were favored. In the tropics, land conversion negatively impacted fungus-growers and predators. In both climatic zones, several functional groups, mainly those with broad ecological niches, did not respond to land conversion. Our results corroborate that land conversion effects vary among ant functional groups and indicate that the ant fauna of temperate ecosystems may be more susceptible than that of tropical regions.

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2021-06-28

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Santos, R. de J., Dodonov, P., & Delabie, J. H. C. (2021). Effects of Habitat Conversion on Ant Functional Groups: A Global Review. Sociobiology, 68(2), e6071. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v68i2.6071

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