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Crab regulation of cross-ecosystem resource transfer by marine foraging fire ants

Garcia, Erica A., Bertness, Mark D., Alberti, Juan and Silliman, Brian R. (2011). Crab regulation of cross-ecosystem resource transfer by marine foraging fire ants. Oecologia,166(4):1111-1119.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 82057923xPUB38
Title Crab regulation of cross-ecosystem resource transfer by marine foraging fire ants
Author Garcia, Erica A.
Bertness, Mark D.
Alberti, Juan
Silliman, Brian R.
Journal Name Oecologia
Publication Date 2011
Volume Number 166
Issue Number 4
ISSN 0029-8549   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-79960309665
Start Page 1111
End Page 1119
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication Germany
Publisher Springer
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Permeability of boundaries in biological systems is regulated by biotic and/or abiotic factors. Despite this knowledge, the role of biotic factors in regulating resource transfer across ecosystem boundaries has received little study. Additionally, little is known about how cross-ecosystem resource transfer affects source populations. We used experiments, observations and stable isotopes, to evaluate: (1) the proportion of intertidal-foraging black fire ant (Solenopsis richteri) diet derived from marine sources, (2) how black fire ant cross-ecosystem resource transfer is altered by the dominant bioengineer in the intertidal, a burrowing crab (Neohelice granulata), (3) the top-down impact of these terrestrial ants on a marine resource, and (4) the effect of marine resources on recipient black fire ants. We found that more than 85% of the black fire ant diet is derived from marine sources, the number of intertidal foraging ants doubles in the absence of crab burrows, and that ants cause a 50% reduction in intertidal polychaetes. Also, ant mound density is three times greater adjacent to marine systems. This study reveals that cross-ecosystem foraging terrestrial ants can clearly have strong impacts on marine resources. Furthermore, ecosystem engineers that modify and occupy habitat in these ecosystem boundaries can strongly regulate the degree of cross-ecosystem resource transfer and resultant top down impacts.
Keywords boundary permeability
cross-ecosystem foraging
ecosystem engineer
land-water interface
resource transfer
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-011-1952-x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 17:13:46 CST by Anthony Hornby