The effects of urbanization on ant communities and myrmecochory in Manitoba, Canada
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With the increase in urbanization globally, there is an increased need to understand the ecology of forest fragments in urban and urbanizing landscapes. Although urban forests are known to be relatively lacking in plants whose seeds are dispersed by ants, little is known about the effects of urbanization on the community composition and behaviour of forest dwelling ants. Ant communities in forest fragments along an urban–rural gradient were described using a rapid quadrat search technique and multivariate analysis. Interactions between the ants and seeds of the myrmecochorous Viola pubescens within a subset of these forests were described using a series of cafeteria experiments. Urbanization was found to be associated with changes in microhabitat characteristics and a concomitant simplification of the ant community. Despite this, the removal rate of V. pubescens seeds actually increased in urban forests, which may be a result of the foraging behaviour of the remaining species.