High diversity in an urban habitat: are some animal assemblages resilient to long-term anthropogenic change?
- 860 Downloads
Urbanization is thought to lead to the loss of biodiversity both because of habitat disturbance and the increased abundance of invasive species. However, most studies of biodiversity in cities are conducted on a short time scale, usually less than 3 years, and so miss the long-term dynamics of communities inhabiting these ecosystems. Here we use a study performed in the early 70’s on North Carolina State University (Raleigh, USA) as a baseline to evaluate the long term effects of disturbance and introduced species on native ant communities. Ant species were sampled almost 40 years later using a variety of sampling techniques in order to maximize species collection. Our results show that while the number of exotic species increased, including three major invasive ants, native ant species richness remained high. Furthermore, our survey was able to add several new records for the area considered, in comparison of the 70’s study, for a total of 89 species known from NCSU campus. After comparison with other studies, our results represent one of the most species-rich urban environments monitored and thus open encouraging perspective on how urban ecosystems could contribute to the preservation of the biodiversity of small-bodies organisms such as ants.
KeywordsUrban ecosystem Long term study Formicidae Disturbance Invasive species
The authors would like to thank Neil McCoy, Katherine Driscoll, Matthew Drew for their help in collecting. We would like to thank Terry Nuhn for discussion about his collection. Thank you also to Alex Wild for authorizing the use of his pictures. Finally, we’d like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a previous version of the manuscript. The work of RRD and BG was supported by a NASA Biodiversity Grant (ROSES-NNX09AK22G), support from a USGS grant to the Climate Science Center and an NSF-CAREER grant (09533390).
- Bernard F (1958) Fourmis des villes et fourmis du bled entre rabat et tanger. Bull Soc Sci Nat Maroc 38:131–142Google Scholar
- Bestelmeyer BT, Agosti D, Alonso LE, Brandao CRF, Brown WL Jr, Delabie JHC, Silvestre R (2000) 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 Press, Washington, pp 122–144Google Scholar
- Carter WG (1962) Ants of the north Carolina piedmont. J Elisha Mitch Sci S 78:1–18Google Scholar
- Dauber J (1997) Ameisenfauna einer urbanen Landschaft. Naturschutz und Landschaftplanung 29:303–309Google Scholar
- Guénard B, McCaffrey KA, Lucky A, Dunn RR (2012b) Ants of North Carolina: an updated list (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3552:1–36Google Scholar
- Herraiz JA, Espadaler X (2007) Laboulbenia formicarum (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales) reaches the Mediterranean. Sociobiology 50:449–455Google Scholar
- Johnson C (1987) Biogeography and habitats of Ponera exotica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Entomol Sci 22:358–361Google Scholar
- MacGown JA, Hill JG, Brown LA (2010) Dispersal of the exotic Brachymyrmex patagonicus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. Proceedings: Imported Fire Ant Conference, Charleston, South Carolina, March 24–26, 2008, 80–86Google Scholar
- North Carolina State University Building index. http://www.ncsu.edu/facilities/buildings/index.htm. Assessed on February 15 2013
- North Carolina State University Historical Sketch. http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/scrc/university-historical-sketch. Accessed on April 26 2014
- Nuhn TP (1977) A survey of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the campus of North Carolina State University at Raleigh. Master’s thesisGoogle Scholar
- Official City of Raleigh Website, Raleigh Demographics. http://www.raleighnc.gov/home/content/PlanLongRange/Articles/RaleighDemographics.html. Accessed on August 4th 2013
- Ordonez-Urbano C, Reyes-Lopez J, Carpintero-Ortega S (2008) Una especie aloctona puede ser “rara”? El caso de Pyramica membranifera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bol Soc Entomol Aragonesa 42:321–323Google Scholar
- Pyšek P, Bacher S, Chytrý M, Jarošík V, Wild J, Celesti-Grapow L, Gassó N, Kenis M, Lambdon PW, Nentwig W et al (2010) Contrasting patterns in the invasions of European terrestrial and freshwater habitats by alien plants, insects and vertebrates. Global Ecol Biogeogr 19:317–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rizali A, Bos MM, Buchori D, Yamane S, Hans C, Schulze J (2008) Ants in tropical urban habitats: the myrmecofauna in a densely populated area of Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. Hayati J Biosci 15:77–84Google Scholar
- Smith MR (1946) Ant hosts of the fungus, Laboulbenia formicarum Thaxter. Proc Entomol Soc Wash 48:29–31Google Scholar
- Ward PS (2000) Broad-scale patterns of diversity in leaf litter ant communities. In: Agosti D, Majer JD, Alonso LE, Schultz TR (eds) Ants: standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp 99–121Google Scholar
- Wetterer JK (2009) Worldwide spread of the Penny ant, Tetramorium bicarinatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 54:811–830Google Scholar