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Data from: Ant mutualism increases long-term growth and survival of a common Amazonian tree

Citation

Baez, Selene et al. (2016), Data from: Ant mutualism increases long-term growth and survival of a common Amazonian tree, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.42p15

Abstract

How ecological context shapes mutualistic relationships remains poorly understood. We combined long-term tree census data with ant censuses in a permanent 25-ha Amazonian forest dynamics plot to evaluate the effect of the mutualistic ant Myrmelachista schumanni (Formicinae) on the growth and survival of the common Amazonian tree Duroia hirsuta (Rubiaceae), considering its interactions with tree growth, population structure, and habitat. We found that the mutualist ant more than doubled tree relative growth rates and increased odds of survival. However, host tree size and density of conspecific neighbors modified the effect of the ant. Smaller trees hosting the mutualist ant consistently grew faster when surrounded by higher densities of conspecifics, suggesting that the benefit to the tree outweighs any negative effects of high conspecific densities. Moreover, our findings suggest that the benefit afforded by the ant diminishes with plant age and also depends on the density of conspecific neighbors. We provide the first long-term large-scale evidence of how mutualism affects the population biology of an Amazonian tree species.

Usage Notes

Location

Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve
Sucumbios Province
Amazonian Ecuador