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Interaction complexity matters: disentangling services and disservices of ant communities driving yield in tropical agroecosystems.

Wielgoss, Arno; Tscharntke, Teja; Rumede, Alfianus; Fiala, Brigitte; Seidel, Hannes; Shahabuddin, Saleh and Clough, Yann LU (2014) In Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences 281(1775).
Abstract
Owing to complex direct and indirect effects, impacts of higher trophic levels on plants is poorly understood. In tropical agroecosystems, ants interact with crop mutualists and antagonists, but little is known about how this integrates into the final ecosystem service, crop yield. We combined ant exclusion and introduction of invasive and native-dominant species in cacao agroecosystems to test whether (i) ant exclusion reduces yield, (ii) dominant species maximize certain intermediate ecosystem services (e.g. control of specific pests) rather than yield, which depends on several, cascading intermediate services and (iii) even, species-rich ant communities result in highest yields. Ants provided services, including reduced leaf herbivory... (More)
Owing to complex direct and indirect effects, impacts of higher trophic levels on plants is poorly understood. In tropical agroecosystems, ants interact with crop mutualists and antagonists, but little is known about how this integrates into the final ecosystem service, crop yield. We combined ant exclusion and introduction of invasive and native-dominant species in cacao agroecosystems to test whether (i) ant exclusion reduces yield, (ii) dominant species maximize certain intermediate ecosystem services (e.g. control of specific pests) rather than yield, which depends on several, cascading intermediate services and (iii) even, species-rich ant communities result in highest yields. Ants provided services, including reduced leaf herbivory and fruit pest damage and indirect pollination facilitation, but also disservices, such as increased mealybug density, phytopathogen dissemination and indirect pest damage enhancement. Yields were highest with unmanipulated, species-rich, even communities, whereas ant exclusion decreased yield by 27%. Introduction of an invasive-dominant ant decreased species density and evenness and resulted in 34% lower yields, whereas introduction of a non-invasive-dominant species resulted in similar species density and yields as in the unmanipulated control. Species traits and ant community structure affect services and disservices for agriculture in surprisingly complex ways, with species-rich and even communities promoting highest yield. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
volume
281
issue
1775
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • pmid:24307667
  • wos:000332380800001
  • scopus:84902668999
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2013.2144
project
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f3db09ab-cc85-491c-a37e-dca8f9c2117c (old id 4225208)
date added to LUP
2014-02-05 10:52:41
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:06:36
@article{f3db09ab-cc85-491c-a37e-dca8f9c2117c,
  abstract     = {Owing to complex direct and indirect effects, impacts of higher trophic levels on plants is poorly understood. In tropical agroecosystems, ants interact with crop mutualists and antagonists, but little is known about how this integrates into the final ecosystem service, crop yield. We combined ant exclusion and introduction of invasive and native-dominant species in cacao agroecosystems to test whether (i) ant exclusion reduces yield, (ii) dominant species maximize certain intermediate ecosystem services (e.g. control of specific pests) rather than yield, which depends on several, cascading intermediate services and (iii) even, species-rich ant communities result in highest yields. Ants provided services, including reduced leaf herbivory and fruit pest damage and indirect pollination facilitation, but also disservices, such as increased mealybug density, phytopathogen dissemination and indirect pest damage enhancement. Yields were highest with unmanipulated, species-rich, even communities, whereas ant exclusion decreased yield by 27%. Introduction of an invasive-dominant ant decreased species density and evenness and resulted in 34% lower yields, whereas introduction of a non-invasive-dominant species resulted in similar species density and yields as in the unmanipulated control. Species traits and ant community structure affect services and disservices for agriculture in surprisingly complex ways, with species-rich and even communities promoting highest yield.},
  articleno    = {20132144},
  author       = {Wielgoss, Arno and Tscharntke, Teja and Rumede, Alfianus and Fiala, Brigitte and Seidel, Hannes and Shahabuddin, Saleh and Clough, Yann},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1775},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Interaction complexity matters: disentangling services and disservices of ant communities driving yield in tropical agroecosystems.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.2144},
  volume       = {281},
  year         = {2014},
}