Ground-foraging ant communities in invaded (by Hovenia dulcis) and non-invaded Atlantic Forest sites, and ant-H. dulcis diaspore interactions
Podgaiski, Luciana; Drose, William; Almerão, Mauricio; Guimarães, Gabriel (2021), Ground-foraging ant communities in invaded (by Hovenia dulcis) and non-invaded Atlantic Forest sites, and ant-H. dulcis diaspore interactions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3tx95x6hd
Biological invasions are a worldwide threat to biodiversity. Invasive species can affect biodiversity in many ways, such as by altering habitat properties and structure to which native species are dependent. Recipient communities that have mutualistic interactions with invasive species, such as seed dispersal mutualistic networks, are more vulnerable to invasion. The japanese raisin tree, Hovenia dulcis Thunberg (Rhamnaceae), is an example of a successful invasive tree in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, where it alters plant communities and leaf-litter inputs. Also, Hovenia dulcis invests a massive amount of energy in the production of infructescences with fleshy sugary peduncle, and several animal species are local consumers and dispersers. We studied the relationships between H. dulcis and ground-foraging ant communities. Ants are known to be dependent on habitat structure, and have been suggested as potential dispersals of H. dulcis diaspores. We collected data to evaluate the (i) effects of the H. dulcis invasion on ants, and (ii) ant-diaspore interactions. We sampled ant communities with pitfall traps in seven paired invaded and uninvaded forest sites (n=14) in two close times: before (June 2018) and after H. dulcis infructescence ripening and falling into the forest floor (July 2018). We additionally performed an experiment to understand the potential use of H. dulcis diaspores by ant species.