Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 2305–2320 | Cite as

Shrub encroachment alters composition and diversity of ant communities in abandoned grasslands of western Carpathians

  • Michal Wiezik
  • Marek Svitok
  • Adela Wieziková
  • Martin Dovčiak
Original Paper

Abstract

Invasions of woody species into grasslands abandoned by agriculture are a global phenomenon, but their effects on diversity of other taxa have been rarely investigated across both regional and local scales. We quantified how shrub encroachment affected the activity, composition, and diversity of ant communities in managed and abandoned grasslands in western Carpathians of Central Europe across four regions and four shrub encroachment stages in each region. We surveyed ant communities on 48 sites in total, with each encroachment stage replicated three times in each region and twelve times overall. We used pitfall traps to sample ants over three years (2008, 2009, 2011) and identified 9,254 ant workers belonging to 33 species in total. Although the epigaeic activity and composition of ant communities varied with region, abandoned grasslands supported a greater species richness of ants than managed grasslands regardless of the region, and especially so in more advanced shrub encroachment stages. Since the woody colonization within grasslands was moderate even in the advanced encroachment stages (on average ~40 % of grassland colonized by woody species), it allowed coexistence of forest specialists (e.g. Temnothorax crassispinus) with species typical of open grasslands, thus increasing overall ant diversity. Managed grasslands were not only less species rich compared to abandoned grasslands, but they were characterized by different species (e.g. Lasius niger, Myrmica rugulosa). The differences in ant communities between managed and abandoned grasslands are likely to cause differences in ecological functions mediated by ants (e.g. predation of arthropods or plant seed dispersal).

Keywords

Secondary succession Grassland management Formicidae Seminatural grasslands 

References

  1. Adis J (1979) Problems of interpreting arthropod sampling with pitfall traps. Zool Anz 202:177–184Google Scholar
  2. Andersen AN (1995) A classification of Australian ant communities, based on functional groups which parallel plant life-forms in relation to stress and disturbance. J Biogeogr 22:15–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersen AN (2000) Global ecology of rainforest ants. Functional groups in relation to environmental stress and disturbance. In: Agosti D, Majer J, Alonso LE, Schultz TR (eds) Ants: standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp 25–34Google Scholar
  4. Anderson MJ (2001) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Aust J Ecol 26:32–46Google Scholar
  5. Anderson MJ (2005) PERMANOVA: a FORTRAN computer program for permutational multivariate analysis of variance. University of Auckland, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson MJ, ter Braak CJF (2003) Permutation tests for multi-factorial analysis of variance. J Stat Comput Simul 73:85–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anderson MJ, Willis TJ (2003) Canonical analysis of principal coordinates: a useful method of constrained ordination for ecology. Ecology 84:511–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Azcárate FM, Peco B (2012) Abandonment of grazing in a Mediterranean grassland area: consequences for ant assemblages. Insect Conserv Divers 5:279–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baines M, Hambler C, Johnson PJ, Macdonald DW, Smith H (1998) The effects of arable field margin management on the abundance and species richness of Araneae. Ecography 21:74–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bestelmeyer BT (2005) Does desertification diminish biodiversity? Enhancement of ant diversity by shrub invasion in south-western USA. Divers Distrib 11:45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bestelmeyer BT, Wiens JA (2001) Local and regional-scale responses of ant diversity to a semiarid biome transition. Ecography 24:381–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bestelmeyer BT, Agosti D, Alonso LE, Brandao CRF, Brown WL, Delabie JHC, Silvestre R (2000) Field techniques for the study of ground-dwelling ants. In: Agosti D, Majer J, Alonso LE, Schultz TR (eds) Ants: standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp 122–144Google Scholar
  13. Czechowski W, Radchenko A, Czechowska W (2002) The ants (Hymneoptera, Formicidae) of Poland. Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS, WarszawaGoogle Scholar
  14. Dahms H, Wellstein C, Wolters V, Dauber J (2005) Effects of management practices on ant species richness and community composition in grasslands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecol Nachrichten 7:9–16Google Scholar
  15. Dahms H, Lenoir L, Lindborg R, Wolters V, Dauber J (2010) Restoration of seminatural grasslands: what is the impact on ants? Restor Ecol 18:330–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dauber J, Simmering D (2006) Ant assemblages in successional stages of Scotch Broom stands. Myrmecol News 9:55–64Google Scholar
  17. Dauber J, Wolters V (2004) Edge effects on ant community structure and species richness in an agricultural landscape. Biodivers Conserv 13:901–915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dauber J, Wolters V (2005) Colonization of temperate grassland by ants. Basic Appl Ecol 6:83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Decaëns T, Dutoit T, Alard D, Lavelle P (1998) Factors influencing soil macrofaunal communities in post-pastoral successions of western France. Appl Soil Ecol 9:361–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dekoninck W, De Koninck H, Baugnée J-Y, Maelfait J-P (2007) Ant biodiversity conservation in Belgian calcareous grasslands: active management is vital. Belg J Zool 137:137–146Google Scholar
  21. Dengler J (2005) Zwischen estland und portugal—gemeinsamkeiten und unterschiede der phytodiversitätsmuster europäischer trockenrasen. Tuexenia 25:387–405Google Scholar
  22. Dierschke H (2006) Secondary progressive succession of an abandoned calcareous grassland–research on permanent plots 1987–2002. Hercynia N. F. 39:223–245Google Scholar
  23. Dovčiak M, Frelich LE, Reich PB (2005) Pathways in old-field succession to white pine: seed rain, shade, and climate effects. Ecol Monogr 75:363–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dovčiak M, Hrivnák R, Ujházy K, Gömöry D (2008) Seed rain and environmental controls on invasion of Picea abies into grassland. Plant Ecol 194:135–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Duelli P (1997) Biodiversity evaluation in agricultural landscapes: an approach at two different scales. Agric Ecosyst Environ 62:81–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dufrêne M, Legendre P (1997) Species assemblages and indicator species: the need for a flexible asymmetrical approach. Ecol Monogr 67:345–366Google Scholar
  27. Efron B, Tibshirani R (1986) Bootstrap methods for standard errors: confidence intervals and other measures of statistical accuracy. Stat Sci 1:54–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Eldridge DJ (1994) Nest of ants and termites influence infiltration in a semiarid woodland. Pedobiologia 38:481–492Google Scholar
  29. Eldridge DJ, Bowker MA, Maestre FT, Roger E, Reynolds FJ, Whitford WG (2011) Impacts of shrub encroachment on ecosystem structure and functioning: towards a global synthesis. Ecol Lett 14:709–722PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ellison AM (2012) Out of Oz: opportunities and challenges for using ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as biological indicators in north-temperate cold biomes. Myrmecol News 17:105–119Google Scholar
  31. Folgarait PJ (1998) Ant biodiversity and its relationship to ecosystem functioning: a review. Biodivers Conserv 7:1221–1244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Frouz J, Holec M, Kalčík J (2003) The effect of Lasius niger (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) ant nests on selected soil chemical properties. Pedobiologia 47:205–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gallé L (1991) Structure and succession of ant assemblages in a north European sand dune area. Ecography 14:31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gómez C, Casellas D, Oliveras J, Bas JM (2003) Structure of ground-foraging ant assemblages in relation to land-use change in the northwestern Mediterranean region. Biodivers Conserv 12:135–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Greenslade PJM (1973) Sampling ants with pitfall traps: digging-in effects. Ins Soc 20:343–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Grill A, Cleary DFR, Stettmer C, Bräu M, Settele J (2008) A mowing experiment to evaluate the influence of management on the activity of host ants of Maculinea butterflies. J Insect Conserv 12:617–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Grime JP (1979) Plant strategies and vegetation processes. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  38. Halpern CB, Halaj J, Evans SA, Dovčiak M (2012) Level and pattern of overstory retention interact to shape long-term responses of understories to timber harvest. Ecol Appl 22:2049–2064Google Scholar
  39. Hölldobler B, Wilson EO (1990) The Ants. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hopkins A, Holz B (2006) Grassland for agriculture and nature conservation. Agron Res 4:3–20Google Scholar
  41. Hrnčiarová T (ed) (2000) Landscape atlas of the Slovak Republic 1.st edition. Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, Slovak Environmental Agency, BratislavaGoogle Scholar
  42. Hurlbert SH (1971) The nonconcept of species diversity: a critique and alternative parameters. Ecology 52:577–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Janišová M, Uhliarová E, Ružičková H (2010) Expert system-based classification of semi-natural grasslands in submontane and montane regions of central Slovakia. Tuexenia 30:375–422Google Scholar
  44. Jouquet P, Dauber J, Lagerlof J, Lavelle P, Lepage M (2006) Soil invertebrates as ecosystem engineers: intended and accidental effects on soil and feedback loops. Appl Soil Ecol 32:153–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. King JR, Andersen AN, Cutter AD (1998) Ants as bioindicators of habitat disturbance: validation of the functional group model for Australia’s humid tropics. Biodivers Conserv 7:1627–1638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Knops JMH, Tilman D, Haddad NM, Naeem S, Mitchell CE, Haarstad J, Ritchie ME, Howe KM, Reich PB, Siemann E, Groth J (1999) Effects of plant species richness on invasion dynamics, disease outbreaks, insect abundances and diversity. Ecol Lett 2:286–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lassau SA, Hochuli DF (2004) Effects of habitat complexity on ant assemblages. Ecography 27:157–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Legendre P, Anderson MJ (1999) Distance-based redundancy analysis: testing multispecies responses in multifactorial ecological experiments. Ecol Monogr 69:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Legendre P, Gallagher ED (2001) Ecologically meaningful transformations for ordination of species data. Oecologia 129:271–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Legendre P, Legendre L (1998) Numerical ecology, 2nd English edition. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  51. MacDonald D, Crabtree JR, Wiesinger G, Dax T, Stamou N, Fleury P, Gutierrez Lazpita J, Gibon A (2000) Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: environmental consequences and policy response. J Environ Manag 59:47–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Marriott CA, Fothergill M, Jeangros B, Scotton M, Louault F (2004) Long-term impacts of extensification of grassland management on biodiversity and productivity in upland areas. Rev Agronomie 24:447–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McArdle BH, Anderson MJ (2001) Fitting multivariate models to community data: a comment on distance-based redundancy analysis. Ecology 82:290–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mitlacher K, Poschlod P, Rosen E, Bakker JP (2002) Restoration of wooded meadows—a comparative analysis along a chronosequence on Oland (Sweden). Appl Veg Sci 5:63–73Google Scholar
  55. Morris MG (1990) The Hemiptera of two sown calcareous grasslands III. Comparisons with the Auchenorhyncha faunas of other grasslands. J Appl Ecol 27:394–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Morris MG (2000) The effects of structure and its dynamics on the ecology and conservation of arthropods in British grasslands. Biol Conserv 95:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Murdoch DJ, Chow ED (1996) A graphical display of large correlation matrices. Am Stat 50:178–180Google Scholar
  58. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin PR, O’Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Stevens MHH, Wagner H (2011) Vegan: Community Ecology Package. R package version 2.0-0Google Scholar
  59. Ottonetti L, Tucci L, Santini G (2006) Recolonization patterns of ants in a rehabilitated lignite mine in Central Italy: potential for the use of Mediterranean ants as indicators of restoration processes. Restor Ecol 14:60–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pärtel M, Zobel M, Zobel K, van der Maarel E (1996) The species pool and its relation to species richness: evidence from Estonian plant communities. Oikos 75:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pärtel M, Bruun HH, Sammul M (2005) Biodiversity in temperate European grasslands: origin and conservation. In: Lillak R, Viiralt R, Linke A, Geherman V (eds) Integrating efficient grassland farming and biodiversity. European Grassland Federation, Tartu, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  62. Peck SL, Mcquaid B, Campbell CL (1998) Using ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as a biological indicator of agroecosystem condition. Environ Entomol 27:1102–1110Google Scholar
  63. Peet RK, Glenn-Lewin DC, Walker-Wolf JW (1983) Prediction of man’s impact on plant species diversity. In: Holzner W, Werger MJA, Ikusima I (eds) Man’s impact on vegetation. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp 41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2002) Quality of agroecological matrix in a tropical montane landscape: ants in coffee plantations in southern Mexico. Conserv Biol 16:174–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pihlgren A, Lennartsson T (2008) Shrub effects on herbs and grasses in semi-natural grasslands: positive, negative or neutral relationships? Grass Forage Sci 63:9–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pykälä J, Luoto M, Heikkinen RK, Kontula T (2005) Plant species richness and persistence of rare plants in abandoned semi-natural grasslands in northern Europe. Basic Appl Ecol 6:25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  69. Reich PB, Peterson DW, Wedin DA, Wrage K (2001) Fire and vegetation effects on productivity and nitrogen cycling across a forest-grassland continuum. Ecology 82:1703–1719Google Scholar
  70. Reyes-López J, Ruiz N, Fernández-Haeger J (2003) Community structure of ground-ants: the role of single trees in a Mediterranean pastureland. Acta Oecol 24:195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sala OE, Chapin FS III, Armesto JJ, Berlow E, Bloomfield J, Dirzo R, Huber-Sanwald E, Huenneke LF, Jackson RB, Kinzig A, Leemans R, Lodge DM, Mooney HA, Oesterheld M, LeRoy PN, Sykes MT, Walker BH, Walker M, Wall DH (2000) Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schrautzer J, Jansen D, Breuer M, Nelle O (2009) Succession and management of calcareous dry grasslands in the Northern Franconian Jura, Germany. Tuexenia 29:339–351Google Scholar
  73. Seifert B (2007) Die Ameisen Mittel-und Nordeuropas. Lutra Verlags-und Vertriebsgesselschaft, Görlitz/TauerGoogle Scholar
  74. Söderström B, Svensson B, Vessby K, Glimskär A (2001) Plants, insects and birds in semi-natural pastures in relation to local habitat and landscape factors. Biodivers Conserv 10:1839–1863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sørensen T (1948) A method of establishing groups of equal amplitude in plant sociology based on similarity of species content and its application in analysis of the vegetation on Danish commons. Biol Skrif Kong Dansk Videnskab Selsk 5:1–34Google Scholar
  76. TRINET (2010) Building up a central and eastern European cooperation in nature conservation-oriented grassland use. http://www.tri-net.eu/reports.htm. Accessed 9 Jan 2013
  77. Van Auken OW (2009) Causes and consequences of woody plant encroachment into western North American grasslands. J Environ Manag 90:2931–2942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. van Dijk G (1991) The status of semi-natural grasslands in Europe. In: Batten LA, Norton JA, Goriup PD (eds) The conservation of lowland dry grassland birds in Europe. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Newbury, pp 13–15Google Scholar
  79. van Dijk G, Zdanowicz A, Blokzijl R (2005) Land abandonment, biodiversity and the CAP. DLG, Service for Land and Water Management, Utrecht Google Scholar
  80. Vickery JA, Tallowin JR, Feber RE, Asteraki EJ, Atkinson PW, Fuller RJ, Brown VK (2001) The management of lowland neutral grasslands in Britain: effects of agricultural practices on birds and their food resources. J Appl Ecol 38:647–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vlasáková B, Raabová J, Kyncl T, Dostál P, Kovářová M, Kovář P, Herben T (2009) Ants accelerate succession from mountain grassland towards spruce forest. J Veg Sci 20:577–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Volkl W, Zwolfer H, Romstock-Volkl M, Schmelzer C (1993) Habitat management in calcareous grasslands: effects on the insect community developing in flower heads of Cynarea. J Appl Ecol 30:307–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wiezik M, Svitok M, Dovčiak M (2007) Conifer introductions decrease richness and alter composition of litter-dwelling beetles (Coleoptera) in Carpathian oak forests. For Ecol Manag 247:61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wiezik M, Wieziková A, Svitok M (2011) Vegetation structure, ecological stability, and low-disturbance regime of abandoned dry grasslands support specific ant assemblages in Central Slovakia. Tuexenia 31:301–315Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michal Wiezik
    • 1
  • Marek Svitok
    • 2
  • Adela Wieziková
    • 2
  • Martin Dovčiak
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied EcologyFaculty of Ecology and Environmental Science, Technical University in ZvolenZvolenSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of Biology and General EcologyFaculty of Ecology and Environmental Science, Technical University in ZvolenZvolenSlovakia
  3. 3.State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuseUSA

Personalised recommendations