Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 385–395 | Cite as

Rainfall facilitates the spread, and time alters the impact, of the invasive Argentine ant

  • Nicole E. Heller
  • Nathan J. Sanders
  • Jessica Wade Shors
  • Deborah M. Gordon
Conservation Ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

Climate change may exacerbate invasions by making conditions more favorable to introduced species relative to native species. Here we used data obtained during a long-term biannual survey of the distribution of ant species in a 481-ha preserve in northern California to assess the influence of interannual variation in rainfall on the spread of invasive Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, and the displacement of native ant species. Since the survey began in 1993, Argentine ants have expanded their range into 74 new hectares. Many invaded hectares were later abandoned, so the range of Argentine ants increased in some years and decreased in others. Rainfall predicted both range expansion and interannual changes in the distribution of Argentine ants: high rainfall, particularly in summer months, promoted their spread in the summer. This suggests that an increase in rainfall will promote a wider distribution of Argentine ants and increase their spread into new areas in California. Surprisingly, the distribution of two native ant species also increased following high rainfall, but only in areas of the preserve that were invaded by L. humile. Rainfall did not have a negative impact on total native ant species richness in invaded areas. Instead, native ant species richness in invaded areas increased significantly over the 13 years of observation. This suggests that the impact of Argentine ants on naïve ant communities may be most severe early in the invasion process.

Keywords

El Niño Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Linepithema humile Long-term Seasonality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank the many Stanford undergraduates and other students who helped with the ant survey at JRBP, especially Patrick Hsieh, Tomas Matza, and Eli Sarnat who provided very valuable assistance. Many thanks to Phil Ward for ant identification and for curating the JRBP ant collection. Peter Vitousek, Phil Lester, and one anonymous reviewer provided constructive comments on drafts of this manuscript. Raquel Prado provided valuable statistical advice. Support for this study came from a NSF pre-doctoral fellowship to NEH, the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service grant no. 2001-35302-09981 to DMG, and Mellon grants to JRBP.

Supplementary material

References

  1. Benning TL, LaPointe D, Atkinson CT, Vitousek PM (2002) Interactions of climate change with biological invasions and land use in the Hawaiian Islands: modeling the fate of endemic birds using a geographic information system. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:14246–14249PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bestelmeyer BT, Agosti D, Alonso LE, Brandao CRF, Brown WL, Delabie JC, Silvestre R (2004) Field techniques for the study of ground dwelling ants: an overview, description, and evaluation. In: Agosti D, Majer JD, Alonso LE, Schultz TR (eds) Ants: standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., pp 122–144Google Scholar
  3. Burgess TL, Bowers JE, Turner RM (1991) Exotic plants of the desert laboratory. Madroño 38:96–114Google Scholar
  4. Chagnon SA (2000) El Niño, 1997–1998: the climate event of the century. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Chesson P (2000) Mechanisms of maintenance of species diversity. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:342–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cleland EE, Smith MD, Andelman SJ, Bowles C, Carney KM, Horner-Devine MC, Drake JM, Emery SM, Gramling JM, Vandermast DB (2004) Invasion in space and time: non-native species richness and relative abundance respond to interannual variation in productivity and diversity. Ecol Lett 7:947–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Climate change (2007) The physical science basis. In: Fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Available at: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu
  8. Cochrane D, Orcutt GH (1949) Application of least squares regression to relationships containing autocorrelated error terms. J Am Stat Assoc 44:32–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Creighton W (1950) Ants of North America. Bull Mus Comp Zool Harvard Univ 104:1–585Google Scholar
  10. Crowell KL (1968) Rates of competitive exclusion by the Argentine ant in Bermuda. Ecology 49:551–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis MA, Pelsor M (2001) Experimental support for a resource-based mechanistic model of invasibility. Ecol Lett 4:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis MA, Grime JP, Thompson K (2000) Fluctuating resources in plant communities: a general theory of invasibility. J Ecol 88:528–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dech JP, Nosko P (2004) Rapid growth and early flowering in an invasive plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) during an El Niño Spring. Int J Biometerol 49:26–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DiGirolamo LA, Fox LR (2006) The influence of abiotic factors and temporal variation on local invasion patters of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). Biol Invas 8:125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dukes JS, Mooney HA (1999) Does global change increase the success of biological invaders? TREE 14:135–139PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Erickson JM (1972) The displacement of native ant species by the introduced Argentine ant Iridomyrmex humilis Mayr. Psyche 78:257–266Google Scholar
  17. Gordon DM, Moses L, Falkovitz-Halpern M, Wong Emilia H (2001) Effect of weather on infestation of buildings by the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Am Midl Nat 146:321–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gotelli NJ, Entsminger GL (2006) EcoSim: null models software for ecology. In, 7.0. edn. Acquired Intelligence/Kesey-Bear, JerichoGoogle Scholar
  19. Harrington GN (1991) Effects of soil moisture on shrub seedling survival in a semi-arid grassland. Ecology 72:1138–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haskins CP, Haskins EF (1965) Pheidole megacephala and Iridomyrmex humilis in Bermuda, equilibrium or slow replacement? Ecology 46:736–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haskins CP, Haskins EF (1988) Final observations on Pheidole megacephala and Iridomyrmex humilis in Bermuda. Psyche 95:177–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hayhoe K, Cayan D, Field CB, Frumhoff PC, Maurer EP, Miller NL, Moser SC, Schneider SH, Cahill KN, Cleland EE, Dale L, Drapek R, Hanemann RM, Kalkstein LS, Lenihan J, Lunch CK, Neilson RP, Sheridan SC, Verville JH (2004) Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:12422–12427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heller NE (2005) Colony structure, climate and spread in invasive Argentine ants. In: Department of Biological Sciences. Stanford University, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  24. Heller NE, Gordon DM (2006) Seasonal spatial dynamics and causes of nest movement in colonies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). Ecol Entomol 31:499–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heller NE, Sanders NJ, Gordon DM (2006) Linking spatial and temporal scales in the study of an Argentine ant invasion. Biol Invas 8:501–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hobbs RJ, Mooney HA (1991) Effects of rainfall variability and gopher disturbance on serpentine annual grassland dynamics. Ecology 72:59–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holway DA (1998) Factors governing rate of invasion: a natural experiment using Argentine ants. Oecologia 115:206–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holway DA, Case TJ (2000) Mechanisms of dispersed central-place foraging in polydomous colonies of the Argentine ant. Anim Behav 59:433–441PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Holway DA, Lach L, Suarez AV, Tsutsui ND, Case TJ (2002a) The causes and consequences of ant invasions. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 33:181–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holway DA, Suarez AV, Case TJ (2002b) Role of abiotic factors in governing susceptibility to invasion: a test with Argentine ants. Ecology 83:1610–1619Google Scholar
  31. Human KG, Gordon DM (1996) Exploitation and interference competition between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant species. Oecologia 105:405–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Human KG, Gordon DM (1997) Effects of Argentine ants on invertebrate biodiversity in northern California. Conserv Biol 11:1242–1248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Human KG, Gordon DM (1999) Behavioral interactions of the invasive Argentine ant with native ant species. Insect Soc 46:159–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Human KG, Weiss S, Weiss A, Sandler B, Gordon DM (1998) Effects of abiotic factors on the distribution and activity of the invasive Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Environ Entomol 27:822–833Google Scholar
  35. Ingram KK, Gordon DM (2003) Genetic analysis of dispersal dynamics in an invading population of Argentine ants. Ecology 84:2832–2842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kaspari M, Valone TJ (2002) On ectotherm abundance in a seasonal environment—studies of a desert ant assemblage. Ecology 83:2991–2996Google Scholar
  37. Kriticos DJ, Sutherst RW, Brown JR, Adkins SW, Maywald GF (2003) Climate change and the potential distribution of an invasive alien plant: Acacia nilotica ssp. indica in Australia. J App Ecol 40:111–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Krushelnycky PD, Lloyd LL, Joe SM (2004) Limiting spread of a unicolonial invasive insects and characterization of the seasonal patterns of range expansion. Biol Invas 6:47–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kueppers LM, Synder MA, Sloan LC, Zavaleta ES, Fulfrost B (2005) Modeled regional climate change and California endemic oak ranges. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:16281–16286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Levine JM, Rees M (2004) Effects of temporal variability on rare plant persistence in annual systems. Am Nat 164:350–363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lieberberg IP, Kranz M, Seip A (1975) Bermudian ants revisited: the status and interaction of Pheidole megacephala and Iridomyrmex humilis. Ecology 56:473–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lynch J, Balinsky E, Vail S (1980) Foraging patterns in three sympatric forest ant species, Prenolepis imparis, Paratrechina melanderi and Aphaenogaster rudis. Ecol Entomol 5:353–371Google Scholar
  43. Markin GP (1968) Nest relationship of the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 41:511–516Google Scholar
  44. Markin GP (1970) The seasonal life cycle of the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis in southern California. Ann Entomol Soc Am 635:1238–1242Google Scholar
  45. Menke SB, Holway DA (2006) Abiotic factors control invasion by Argentine ants at the community scale. J Anim Ecol 75:368–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mooney HA, Hobbs RJ (eds) (2005) Invasive Species in a changing world. Island Press, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  47. Morrison LW (2002) Long-term impacts of an arthropod-community invasion by the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Ecology 83:2337–2345Google Scholar
  48. Peterson AT (2003) Predicting the geography of species invasions via ecological niche modeling. Q Rev Biol 78:419–431PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Roque-Albelo L, Causton C (1999) El Niño and introduced insects in the Galapagos Islands: different dispersal strategies, similar effects. Noticias Galapagos:30–36Google Scholar
  50. Rosenberg DK, Wilson MH, Cruz F (1990) The distribution and abundance of the smooth-billed Ani crotophaga-anI L. in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador. Biol Control 51:113–124Google Scholar
  51. Roura-Pascual N, Suarez Andrew V, Gomez C, Pons P, Touyama Y, Wild AL, Peterson AT (2004) Geographic potential of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile Mayr) in the face of global climate change. Proc R Soc Lond B 271:2527–2534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sanders NJ, Gordon DM (2004) Interactive effects of climate, life history, and specific neighbours on mortality in a population of red harvester ants. Ecol Entomol 29:632–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sanders NJ, Barton KE, Gordon DM (2001) Long-term dynamics of the distribution of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant taxa in northern California. Oecologia 127:123–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sanders NJ, Gotelli NJ, Heller NE, Gordon DM (2003) Community disassembly by an invasive ant species. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:2474–2477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schoner T, Nicholson SE (1989) Relationship between California rainfall and ENSO events. J Clim 2:1258–1269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shea K, Chesson P (2002) Community ecology theory as a framework for biological invasions. TREE 17:170–176Google Scholar
  57. Stachowicz JJ, Terwin JR, Whitlatch RB, Osman RW (2002) Linking climate change and biological invasions: ocean facilitates nonindigenous species invasions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:15497–15500PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Suarez A, Bolger D, Case T (1998) Effects of fragmentation and invasion on native ant communities on coastal southern California. Ecology 79:2041–2056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Suarez A, Holway D, Case T (2001) Patterns of spread in biological invasions dominated by long-distance jump dispersal: insights from Argentine ants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:1095–1100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tilman D (1999) The ecological consequences of changes in biodiversity: a search for general principles. Ecology 80:1455–1474Google Scholar
  61. Timmermann JO, Bacher A, Esch M, Latif M, Roeckner E (1999) Increased El Niño frequency in a climate model forced by future greenhouse warming. Nature 389:694–697Google Scholar
  62. Tremper BS (1976) Distribution of the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis Mayr, in relation to certain native ants of California: ecological, physiological, and behavioral aspects. University of California Berkeley, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  63. Walters AC, Mackay DA (2003) An experimental study of the relative humidity preference and survival of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): comparisons with a native Iridomyrmex species in South Australia. Insect Soc 50:355–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ward PS (1987) Distribution of the introduced Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis) in natural habitats of the Lower Sacramento Valley and its effects on the indigenous ant fauna. Hilgardia 55:1–16Google Scholar
  65. Way MJ, Cammell ME, Paiva MR, Collingwood CA (1997) Distribution and dynamics of the Argentine ant Linepithema (Iridomyrmex) humile (Mayr) in relation to vegetation, soil conditions, topography and native competitor ants in Portugal. Insect Soc 44:415–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weltzin J, Belote R, Sanders N (2003) Biological invaders in a greenhouse world: will elevated CO2 fuel plant invasions? Front Ecol Environ 1:146–153Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole E. Heller
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nathan J. Sanders
    • 2
  • Jessica Wade Shors
    • 1
  • Deborah M. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyFranklin and Marshall CollegeLancasterUSA

Personalised recommendations