Evaluating an experimental method for studying twig-dwelling ant communities

Description Back to outputs

Twig-nesting ants were found to successfully colonize artificial twig nests.

Ants are a functionally important part of tropical forest ecosystems. Deforestation in Borneo and in tropical forests worldwide is likely have deleterious effects on ant communities, making it vital to better understand the risks this poses for ants, and by extension the entire forest ecosystem. In this study an experimental method for replicating, manipulating and monitoring twig-dwelling ant communities is trialed. Twig-dwelling ant communities are replicated in artificial twigs across three different deforestation gradients (primary forest, logged forest and oil palm plantation) with variable accuracy. It is also found that it is not possible to accurately assess the colonization status of large numbers of twigs in a non-destructive manner, demonstrating that the method trialed is inadvisable, and that while they are more limited, destructive methods are likely to produce better results.