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Responses of ant communities to dry sulfur deposition from mining emissions in semi-arid tropical Australia, with implications for the use of functional groups

Hoffmann, BD, Griffiths, AD and Andersen, Alan N. (2000). Responses of ant communities to dry sulfur deposition from mining emissions in semi-arid tropical Australia, with implications for the use of functional groups. Austral Ecology,25(6):653-663.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 35 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 36 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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ISI LOC 000166527300010
Title Responses of ant communities to dry sulfur deposition from mining emissions in semi-arid tropical Australia, with implications for the use of functional groups
Author Hoffmann, BD
Griffiths, AD
Andersen, Alan N.
Journal Name Austral Ecology
Publication Date 2000
Volume Number 25
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1442-9985   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0001765228
Start Page 653
End Page 663
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication Melbourne Victoria Australia.
Publisher Blackwell Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The impact of dry deposition of SO2 emissions on ant abundance, diversity and composition was investigated at Mount Isa in the semiarid tropics of northern Australia. Forty plots were sampled, stratified at two levels: sulfur deposition zones (high, medium, low, and two control zones) and habitat (Ridge and Plain). The two habitats supported distinctly different ant communities. Ants had clear responses to SO2 emissions. Ant abundance was lowest in the high and medium sulfur zones in both habitats. Species richness in high SO2 plots (up to 5 km from the source) was approximately half that of control plots in Ridge habitat, and was substantially less than controls in the Plain habitat. Ant community composition in the high sulfur zone was clearly separated from those of other zones in ordinations. Vector fitting showed soil SO4 concentration as a primary correlative factor in this separation. Ant abundance and richness were both negatively correlated with soil SO4 concentration, and positively correlated with plant species richness and distance away from the smelters. The abundance of 10 of the 21 most common species showed significant responses to emissions. Five species showed positive responses, and all belong to species-groups known to be abundant at disturbed sites throughout northern Australia. Relative abundance and richness of Eyrean (arid adapted) taxa collectively responded positively to sulfur, and Torresian (tropical) and Widespread species responded negatively. Despite large changes in species composition and abundances, there was relatively little change in the abundance of functional groups that have been widely used in studies of Australian ant communities. Ants are sensitive to SO2 emissions and appear to be good candidates as an indicator group in this context. However, an alternative functional group framework is required for the identification of recurrent responses of arid zone ant communities to disturbance.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2000.tb00071.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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