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Geographical variation in ant foraging activity and resource use is driven by climate and net primary productivity

Lasmar, Chaim J., Bishop, Tom R., Parr, Catherine L., Queiroz, Antônio C. M., Schmidt, Fernando A., Ribas, Carla R. and Economo, Evan 2021. Geographical variation in ant foraging activity and resource use is driven by climate and net primary productivity. Journal of Biogeography 48 (6) , pp. 1448-1459. 10.1111/jbi.14089

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Abstract

Aim Foraging activity is critical for animal survival. Comprehending how ecological drivers influence foraging behaviour would benefit our understanding of the link between animals and ecological processes. Here, we evaluated the influence of ecological drivers on ant foraging activity and relative resource use. Location Six Brazilian biomes: Amazon, Atlantic rainforest, Caatinga, Cerrado, Pampa and Pantanal. Taxon Formicidae. Methods We assessed ant foraging activity and resource use by sampling across 60 sites. We placed baited tubes that contained one of five liquid resources (sugar, lipids, amino acid, sodium and distilled water). We used model selection to assess the influence of ecological drivers (temperature, precipitation, temperature seasonality and net primary productivity) on ant foraging activity and relative resource use. Results Foraging activity was higher in wetter, more productive and less thermally seasonal environments. The relative use of amino acids increased at higher temperatures while the relative use of lipids decreased. The relative use of sugar increased in drier and less productive environments with high-temperature seasonality while the relative use of amino acid and sodium decreased in those environments. The relative use of lipids was complex: increasing with increasing temperature seasonality and decreasing with increasing precipitation. Furthermore, the relative use of sodium was greater where the foraging activity was high. Main conclusions We demonstrate how ecological drivers are correlated with ant foraging activity and resource use in the field across large spatial scales. The search for resources encompasses different interactions involving ants with abiotic and biotic components in the ecosystem. Thus, we suggest that changes in climate and NPP, which influence the intensity and the way that ants search for resources, will result in changes in ant-mediated ecological processes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0305-0270
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 23 January 2021
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 15:31
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/143536

Citation Data

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