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Ant diversity studies in Brazil: an overview of the myrmecological research in a megadiverse country

Abstract

Scientometric investigation and scientific production analysis are essential for science progress. Although a vast number of studies on Brazilian ant diversity have been carried out, a critical analysis of the advances in its scientific production is still missing. We compiled a comprehensive database on ant diversity papers carried out in the Brazilian territory. Our main research question is: what is the profile of ant diversity studies developed in Brazil? We sorted the studies according to the main terrestrial Brazilian biomes. We compiled 468 papers, which were published in 132 journals and encompassed a time range from 1970 to 2020. Most studies were carried out in Atlantic Forest (143), followed by Amazon Forest (111), Cerrado (106), Caatinga (38), Pantanal (14), and Pampa (4). In all biomes, ant samplings presented a much-aggregated distribution. Most studies had samplings carried out in all seasons in almost all biomes. The three most employed sampling techniques were pitfall traps, direct sampling, and attractive baits. The main subject of papers were ant assemblage diversity and ant fauna surveys. We discussed the implications of ant diversity study profiles regarding all aspects considered, the historical changes in these factors during the time range, and their possible influence on ant diversity paper publications, and provided suggestions for a more efficient use of time and financial resources for future research directions on ant diversity studies. Finally, we propose that our study can be replicated in other world regions, allowing for a comprehensive view on ant diversity research at a global scale.

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Data can be request directly with the three first authors.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the referees for their comments and suggestions on previous version of the manuscript. We are most of grateful with the support provided by F. Neves, R. Campos, and J. Schoereder on paper search and information survey. We are in debt with T. Cornelissen for her advices on meta-analysis and overview procedures. We thank R. Madrigal for their invaluable help in formatting the manuscript and technical assistance. A. C. M. Queiroz received a Post-Doctoral fellowship from CEMIG—Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais S.A. (P&D 611—Descomissionamento da PCH Pandeiros: Uma experiência inédita na América do Sul). M. A. Ulysséa acknowledges the FAPESP for the currently postdoctoral fellowship (grant no 2018/11453-0) and for the previously fundings (Grants no 2012/21309-7 and 2015/06485-1). E. Z. Albuquerque acknowledges the support from the National Science Foundation (DEB1654829) and Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution. J. L. P. Souza acknowledges the CNPq for the postdoctoral fellowship (Grant no 301383/2021-2). T. J. Izzo, J. C. Santos, R. Solar F. B. Baccaro, A. Nogueira, and R. M. Feitosa are supported by CNPq (309552/2018-4; 312752/2018-0; 305739/2019-0; 313986/2020-7; 434692/2018-2; 3014495/2019-0). A. Nogueira is supported by FAPESP (2019/19544-7).

Funding

No funding was received specifically for conducting this study. However, C. M. Queiroz has a postdoctoral fellowship from CEMIG—Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais S.A. (P&D 611—Descomissionamento da PCH Pandeiros: Uma experiência inédita na América do Sul). M. A. Ulysséa has currently a postdoctoral fellowship from FAPESP (Grant no  2018/11453-0) and previously fundings (grants no 2012/21309-7 and 2015/06485-1). E. Z. Albuquerque has financial support from the National Science Foundation (DEB1654829) and Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution. J. L. P. Souza has a postdoctoral fellowship from CNPq (grant no 301383/2021-2). T. J. Izzo, J. C. Santos, R. Solar F. B. Baccaro, A. Nogueira, and R. M. Feitosa are supported by CNPq (309552/2018-4; 312752/2018-0; 305739/2019-0; 313986/2020-7; 434692/2018-2; 3014495/2019-0). A. Nogueira is supported by FAPESP (2019/19544-7).

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FAS, CRR, and RMF conceived and designed the study, performed data sorting and analysis, and wrote the original manuscript draft and final version. All the remaining authors had at least one of these contributions: literature survey, data survey, analysis, and critical revision of the manuscript previous versions.

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Correspondence to F. A. Schmidt.

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Schmidt, F.A., Ribas, C.R., Feitosa, R.M. et al. Ant diversity studies in Brazil: an overview of the myrmecological research in a megadiverse country. Insect. Soc. 69, 105–121 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-022-00848-6

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Brazilian biomes
  • Distribution
  • Database
  • Formicidae
  • Scientometrics