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


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)

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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.; 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, . (12/23399-3, 11/18580-8, 14/23141-1, 12/23671-5)
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, . (12/23399-3, 11/18580-8, 10/13619-0, 14/23141-1, 12/23671-5)
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, . (12/23671-5, 14/23141-1)
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, . (12/23671-5)
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, . (12/23671-5, 11/18580-8, 12/23399-3)
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, . (11/18580-8, 14/23141-1, 13/08086-1, 11/04667-4, 12/08689-5, 08/52197-4, 12/23671-5)
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, . (11/18580-8, 13/08086-1, 12/08689-5, 08/52197-4, 12/23671-5)
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, . (12/23399-3, 11/18580-8, 12/23671-5)
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, . (12/23671-5, 14/23141-1, 11/18580-8)
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, . (12/23399-3, 11/18580-8, 14/23141-1, 12/23671-5)

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