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Contrasting responses of native ant communities to invasion by an ant invader, Linepithema humile

Devenish, AJM; Newton, RJ; Bridle, JR; Gomez, C; Midgley, JJ; Sumner, S; (2021) Contrasting responses of native ant communities to invasion by an ant invader, Linepithema humile. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-021-02522-7. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Invasive alien species pose a serious threat to the integrity and function of natural ecosystems. Understanding how these invaders alter natural communities is therefore an important aspect in predicting the likely future outcomes of biological invasions. Many studies have documented the consequences of invasive alien species on native community structure, through the displacement and local extinction of native species. However, sampling methods and intensities are rarely standardised across such studies, meaning that it is not clear whether differences in response among native communities to the same invader species are due to biological differences between the invaded regions, or differences in the methodologies used. Here we use a matched sampling methodology to compare the effects of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile Mayr) on native ant community assemblages in two distinct biogeographical regions that share similar ecologies: Girona (Spain) and Jonkershoek Nature Reserve (South Africa). We found a strong negative association between L. humile presence and native ant species richness within both geographic regions. However, the effects differed between the two study regions: in Girona, a single native ant species (Plagiolepis pygmaea) persisted in invaded sites; by contrast, substantially more native ant species persisted at invaded sites in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. In addition, in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, the abundance of certain native species appeared to increase in the presence of L. humile. This study therefore demonstrates the potential variable effects of an invasive species in contrasting locations within different biogeographical regions. Future work should explore the causes of this differential resistance among communities and expand standardised sampling approaches to more invaded zones to further explore how local biotic or abiotic conditions of a region determine the nature and extent of impact of L. humile invasion on native ant communities.

Type: Article
Title: Contrasting responses of native ant communities to invasion by an ant invader, Linepithema humile
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10530-021-02522-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02522-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Argentine ant, Biological invasions, Cape floristic region, Community structure, Competitive displacement, Field experiment, Formicidae, Iberian peninsula, Linepithema humile
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10126692
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