IGN 18-5 - Ecological consequences of variation in natural history and behavior of seed-dispersing ants

Thursday, August 10, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Kirsten M. Prior, Department of Biological Sciences, Binghamton University (SUNY), Binghamton, NY
As species move around the globe, novel interactions are becoming the new norm. Ants play key roles in ecosystems and adding or replacing species can have cascading ecological effects. Uncovering when ant species are functionally redundant or not is an important question, and towards this goal, we should follow Talbot’s lead. Coupling ant natural history studies with manipulative experiments can provide insight into the outcomes of novel interactions. I highlight research showing that native and invasive ants belonging to the same guild (seed-dispersers) are not functionally redundant, with differences in colony structure and behavior driving divergent effects on plant communities.