Environmental determinants of leaf litter ant community composition along an elevational gradient

Type Article
Date 2021-01
Language English
Author(s) Fichaux Mélanie1, Vleminckx Jason1, 2, Courtois Elodie A.3, 4, Delabie Jacques5, 6, Galli Jordan1, 7, Tao Shengli8, Labrière Nicolas8, Chave Jérôme8, Baraloto Christopher1, 2, Orivel Jérôme1
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane (EcoFoG) AgroParisTech CIRAD INRA Université de Guyane Université des Antilles Kourou cedex, France
2 : Institute of Environment, Department of Biological Sciences Florida International University Miami FL, USA
3 : Laboratoire Ecologie, Evolution, Interactions des Systèmes Amazoniens (LEEISA) CNRS IFREMER Université de Guyane Cayenne ,France
4 : Department of Biology Centre of Excellence PLECO (Plant and Vegetation Ecology) University of Antwerp Wilrijk ,Belgium
5 : Laboratório de Mirmecologia CEPEC CEPLAC Itabuna, Brazil
6 : Departamento de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz Ilheus, Brazil
7 : Naturalia Environnement Site Agroparc Avignon Cedex 9 ,France
8 : Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique UMR 5174 CNRS IRD Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse ,France
Source Biotropica (0006-3606) (Wiley), 2021-01 , Vol. 53 , N. 1 , P. 97-109
DOI 10.1111/btp.12849
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) ants, climate, elevation, environmental filtering, French Guiana, functional traits, soil composition

Ant communities are extremely diverse and provide a wide variety of ecological functions in tropical forests. Here, we investigated the abiotic factors driving ant composition turnover across an elevational gradient at Mont Itoupé, French Guiana. Mont Itoupé is an isolated mountain whose top is covered by cloud forests, a biogeographical rarity that is likely to be threatened according to climate change scenarios in the region. We examined the influence of six soil, climatic, and LiDAR‐derived vegetation structural variables on leaf litter ant assembly (267 species) across nine 0.12‐ha plots disposed at three elevations (ca. 400, 600, and 800m asl). We tested (a) whether species cooccurring within a same plot or a same elevation were more similar in terms of taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic composition, than species from different plots/elevations, and (b) which environmental variables significantly explained compositional turnover among plots. We found that the distribution of species and traits of ant communities along the elevational gradient was significantly explained by a turnover of environmental conditions, particularly in soil phosphorus and sand content, canopy height, and mean annual relative humidity of soil. Our results shed light on the role exerted by environmental filtering in shaping ant community assembly in tropical forests. Identifying the environmental determinants of ant species distribution along tropical elevational gradients could help predicting the future impacts of global warming on biodiversity organization in vulnerable environments such as cloud forests.

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Fichaux Mélanie, Vleminckx Jason, Courtois Elodie A., Delabie Jacques, Galli Jordan, Tao Shengli, Labrière Nicolas, Chave Jérôme, Baraloto Christopher, Orivel Jérôme (2021). Environmental determinants of leaf litter ant community composition along an elevational gradient. Biotropica, 53(1), 97-109. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12849 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00653/76542/