Accessibility navigation

Species turnover in ant assemblages is greater horizontally than vertically in the world's tallest tropical forest

Xing, S., Hood, A. S. C. ORCID:, Dial, R. J. and Fayle, T. M. (2022) Species turnover in ant assemblages is greater horizontally than vertically in the world's tallest tropical forest. Ecology and Evolution, 12 (8). e9158. ISSN 2045-7758

Text (Open access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ece3.9158


Abiotic and biotic factors structure species assembly in ecosystems both horizontally and vertically. However, the way community composition changes along comparable horizontal and vertical distances in complex three-dimensional habitats, and the factors driving these patterns, remains poorly understood. By sampling ant assemblages at comparable vertical and horizontal spatial scales in a tropical rainforest, we tested hypotheses that predicted differences in vertical and horizontal turnover explained by different drivers in vertical and horizontal space. These drivers included environmental filtering, such as microclimate (temperature, humidity, and photosynthetic photon flux density) and microhabitat connectivity (leaf area), which are structured differently across vertical and horizontal space. We found that both ant abundance and richness decreased significantly with increasing vertical height. Although the dissimilarity between ant assemblages increased with vertical distance, indicating a clear distance-decay pattern, the dissimilarity was higher horizontally where it appeared independent of distance. The pronounced horizontal and vertical structuring of ant assemblages across short distances is likely explained by a combination of microclimate and microhabitat connectivity. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering three-dimensional spatial variation in local assemblages and reveal how highly diverse communities can be supported by complex habitats.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:107172


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation