|Title||Monitoring changes in stressed ecosystems using spatial patterns of ant communities|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1998|
|Authors||Nash, MS, Whitford, WG, Van Zee, JW, Havstad, KM|
We examined the feasibility of using changes in spatial patterns of ants-distnbution on experimental plots as an indicator of response to environmental stress. We produced contour maps based on relative abundances of the three most common genera of ants based on pit-fall trap captures. Relative abundance of <i>Conomyrma </i>spp. decreased, relative abundance of <i>Solenopsis </i>spp. increased, and relative abundance of <i>Pogonomyrmex </i>spp. remained relatively unchanged. The contour maps showed long-term changes in foraging activity and/or distribution of colonies of ants in response to grazing by domestic livestock. This study demonstrated that analysis of spatial patterns of ant activity derived from relative abundances of ants in pit-fall traps provided interpretable data for developing an indicator of exposure to ecosystem stress.