Ants in Burned and Unburned Areas in Campos Rupestres Ecosystem

Frederico de Siqueira Neves, Tate C. Lana, Marina C. Anjos, Ariel C. Reis, G. Wilson Fernandes

Abstract


Ground-dwelling ants have shown consistent resilience to fire in savanna environments. We carried out a study to investigate how ant community structure responds to fire in a harsh and fragile Cerrado ecosystem, the campos rupestres. We studied the change in the ant communities on a local scale subjected to fire in two rocky outcrop habitats at two different elevations (800m above sea level and 1300m a.s.l.). Pitfall trap samples were set at three different periods after a fire event: one, four, and ten months later. Overall, one hundred and fifteen ant species were collected. On a local scale, at the altitude of 800 m asl, no difference in richness and composition of the ant community was found between burned and control plots, whereas at 1300 m asl the burned areas showed higher richness and different ant composition in comparison to control areas.  Differences were clear in the rainy period, four months after the fire. Ten months later, no difference between the richness of ant species in burned and unburned plots was found at higher altitudes, even though the plots showed distinct species composition. These data support the hypothesis that fire must be a structuring disturbance factor for some groups in the ant assemblages and indicate that ant community structure at higher elevations is somehow influenced by the recover of the campos rupestre vegetation.

Keywords


Disturbance, Diversity, Resilience, Conservation, Serra do Cipó

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v63i1.779

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