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Interaction between ants and plants bearing extrafloral nectaries : community patterns along a latitudinal gradient in the cerrado biome

Abstract

Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are among the most prominent groups of terrestrial organisms in terms of diversity, abundance, and relative biomass, especially on vegetation. Ant-plant interactions can determine the evolution of specific adaptations, and mediate the differentiation of plant lineages. Extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) are glandular structures that commonly mediate ant-plant interactions by providing liquid food resources for ants. Ants in turn may benefit plants by reducing the negative effects of herbivores on plant tissues. EFNs are particularly abundant amongst cerrado plants, and strongly promote ant foraging activity on foliage. This interaction, however, may vary in space and can be conditioned by a range of environmental factors and/or by the distribution of organisms. Thus, from a plant's viewpoint, the outcome of EFN-mediated ant-plant interactions (including ant-derived herbivory reduction) may also be conditioned. In this research project, we will investigate how the interaction between ants and EFN-bearing plants is affected by variation in climatic parameters, soil quality, and phylogenetic relationships between local plant species along a latitudinal gradient in the cerrado biome comprising nearly 2,100 km. First, we will investigate how the abundance of EFN-bearing plants varies along the gradient. Then we will study how the protective services by visiting ants to plants with EFNs (through reduction of herbivory) vary along the same gradient. Finally, we will investigate whether ant-plant interactions mediated by EFNs affect the phylogenetic structure of local plant communities relative to other environmental factors (e.g. climate, or soil). (AU)

Scientific publications (11)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SENDOYA, SEBASTIAN F.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Behavioural ecology of defence in a risky environment: caterpillars versus ants in a Neotropical savanna. ECOLOGICAL ENTOMOLOGY, v. 42, n. 5, p. 553-564, OCT 2017. Web of Science Citations: 2.
CUQUETTO-LEITE, L.; DOLDER, H.; OLIVEIRA, P. S.; ESPIRITO SANTO, N. B.; LINO-NETO, J.; MANCINI, K. C. Structural and ultrastructural characterization of the spermatozoa in Pachycondyla striata and P-marginata. Insectes Sociaux, v. 64, n. 2, p. 209-217, MAY 2017. Web of Science Citations: 1.
VIDAL, MAYRA C.; SENDOYA, SEBASTIAN F.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Mutualism exploitation: predatory drosophilid larvae sugar-trap ants and jeopardize facultative ant-plant mutualism. ECOLOGY, v. 97, n. 7, p. 1650-1657, JUL 2016. Web of Science Citations: 5.
MOTA, LUISA L.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Myrmecophilous butterflies utilise ant-treehopper associations as visual cues for oviposition. Ecological Entomology, v. 41, n. 3, p. 338-343, JUN 2016. Web of Science Citations: 3.
SENDOYA, SEBASTIAN F.; BLUETHGEN, NICO; TAMASHIRO, JORGE Y.; FERNANDEZ, FERNANDO; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Foliage-dwelling ants in a neotropical savanna: effects of plant and insect exudates on ant communities. ARTHROPOD-PLANT INTERACTIONS, v. 10, n. 3, p. 183-195, JUN 2016. Web of Science Citations: 11.
RONQUE, MARIANE U. V.; AZEVEDO-SILVA, MARIANNE; MORI, GUSTAVO M.; SOUZA, ANETE P.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Three ways to distinguish species: using behavioural, ecological, and molecular data to tell apart two closely related ants, Camponotus renggeri and Camponotus rufipes (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 176, n. 1, p. 170-181, JAN 2016. Web of Science Citations: 12.
AZEVEDO-SILVA, MARIANNE; MORI, GUSTAVO M.; SOUZA, ANETE P.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Microsatellites for two Neotropical dominant ant species, Camponotus renggeri and C-rufipes (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CONSERVATION GENETICS RESOURCES, v. 7, n. 2, p. 459-462, JUN 2015. Web of Science Citations: 1.
SENDOYA, SEBASTIAN F.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Ant-caterpillar antagonism at the community level: interhabitat variation of tritrophic interactions in a neotropical savanna. Journal of Animal Ecology, v. 84, n. 2, p. 442-452, MAR 2015. Web of Science Citations: 12.
BOTTCHER, CLAUDIA; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Consumption of lipid-rich seed arils improves larval development in a Neotropical primarily carnivorous ant, Odontomachus chelifer (Ponerinae). JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY, v. 30, n. 6, p. 621-624, NOV 2014. Web of Science Citations: 4.
RODRIGUES, PEDRO A. P.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Visual navigation in the Neotropical ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae), a predominantly nocturnal, canopy-dwelling predator of the Atlantic rainforest. Behavioural Processes, v. 109, n. A, SI, p. 48-57, NOV 2014. Web of Science Citations: 9.
BIEBER, ANA GABRIELA D.; SILVA, PAULO S. D.; SENDOYA, SEBASTIAN F.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. Assessing the Impact of Deforestation of the Atlantic Rainforest on Ant-Fruit Interactions: A Field Experiment Using Synthetic Fruits. PLoS One, v. 9, n. 2 FEB 26 2014. Web of Science Citations: 3.

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