Ant Communities Resist Even in Small and Isolated Gypsum Habitat Remnants in a Mediterranean Agroecosystem
EntityUAM. Departamento de Ecología
10.3389/fevo.2021.619215Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9 (2021): 619215
ProjectComunidad de Madrid. S2018/EMT-4338/REMEDINAL TE-CM; info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/724704/EU//HIGCC
SubjectsAnts; Biodiversity; Crematogaster; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© 2021 Azcárate, Alameda-Martín, Escudero and Sánchez
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
Natural and seminatural habitat remnants play a crucial ecological role in intensified agroecosystems. Assumptions on the conservation value of small and poorly connected fragments in a hostile matrix come from generalization obtained from a limited number of taxa, mostly plants, and vertebrates. To date, few studies have analyzed the effect of fragmentation on ant communities in Mediterranean agroecosystems, despite the importance of this group of animals on several key ecosystem functions and services. Here, we analyze the effects of fragment area and connectivity on ant communities in gypsum outcrops in a large cereal agroecosystem of Central Spain. Ant communities were described by their species composition, abundance (total number of occurrences), and number of species, standardized both by area (species density), and abundance (species richness). Observed number of species was relatively high in comparison with other studies in the Mediterranean, and we found no effects of fragment characteristics on species density, species richness and species composition, which implies that even small and isolated patches do have a value for ant conservation. Moreover, total number of occurrences were higher for smaller and more isolated fragments. This finding contrasts with the results reported for other taxa in similar gypsum habitats and suggests that certain ant traits and strategies make them particularly resistant to fragmentation and capable to take advantage of small habitat patches. Given the important ecological role played by ants, we recommend the preservation of these small habitat fragments in the management plans of agroecosystems in these drylands, especially in those cases in which intensification of agricultural practices greatly diminish natural habitat availability
Google Scholar:Martín Azcarate, Francisco - Alameda-Martín, Aitor - Escudero, Adrián - Sánchez, Ana M.
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