Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ants In Southern Hemisphere Richer And More Diversified Than Northern Hemisphere Ants

Date:
May 13, 2009
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Australia has more ants than the entire northern hemisphere. There are far fewer species of ants in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. Scientists studied 1,003 local ant assemblages on five different continents. According to the study, ant communities in the northern hemisphere may have suffered more extinctions as a result of the climate changes that occurred between 53 and 54 million years ago.

Rhytidoponera ant species found in Indonesia, Australia and New Caledonia (southern hemisphere).
Credit: Alan N. Andersen

There are fewer species of ants in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. This is the conclusion drawn by an international team of scientists that have studied 1,003 local ant assemblages on five different continents. According to the study, ant communities in the northern hemisphere may have suffered more extinctions as a result of the climate changes that occurred between 53 and 54 million years ago.

An international team of more than 26 researchers - including scientists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (AUB) and the Doρana Biological Station - has studied the global patterns that govern the biological diversity of ant communities. They conclude that latitudinal asymmetry is due to climatic and historical differences between hemispheres, which have led to there being a larger number of species of ants in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere.

"There is a latitudinal gradient in local ant species richness. However, there is latitudinal asymmetry around the equator and, therefore, sites in the southern hemisphere are more diverse than sites in the northern hemisphere", co-author of the study and a researcher at the Ecology Unit and Centre of Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) at the AUB, Xavier Arnan explained to SINC.

The study, which was published recently in Ecology Letters, examines species richness in 1,003 local ant assemblages on five different continents. Researchers attribute the differences between hemispheres to climate-related and historical variables such as regional history, disturbance history and the history of climate change itself.

Results suggest that contemporary climatic conditions explain this difference, along with the Eocene climate changes (between 53 and 54 million years ago). "It appears that a greater change in climate since the Eocene (when temperatures were 10ΊC warmer than today) in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere led to a larger number of extinctions in the north with the subsequent effect on ant species richness on a local scale", Arnan indicated.

Australia has more ants than the entire northern hemisphere

Ant species richness ranges from 0 to 184 different species, variations being caused by temperature and rainfall, the levels of which are higher in the southern hemisphere for one same latitude. Almost half (49%) of the variation in the number of species between the different locations studied is due to climate differences.

In 1845, English naturalist Charles Darwin explained that the greater diversity of life forms in the southern hemisphere was related to a more equable climate, a theory this international study supports.

There is such a large difference between the two hemispheres that Australia alone has greater ant species richness than the entire northern hemisphere. Unlike birds, amphibians or plants, ant species richness is greater in dry habitats, particularly in the warmest regions of the planet. "In warm and dry environments, ants are diverse", the ecologists clarify.

The researchers, from eight different countries, contributed to the study with regional data and their own field work. This information was used to create the Global Ant Community Database, "a database that contains information on the diversity and abundance of ant communities in more than 3,000 sites around the world", Arnan informed SINC Arnan.

This is the second study using this database that has been published and one of the first large-scale studies of local communities, in this case between hemispheres, which jointly considers the impact of both historical and contemporary factors on hemispheric diversity asymmetries," the scientist concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dunn et al. Climatic drivers of hemispheric asymmetry in global patterns of ant species richness. Ecology Letters, 2009; 12 (4): 324 DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01291.x

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Ants In Southern Hemisphere Richer And More Diversified Than Northern Hemisphere Ants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506094103.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2009, May 13). Ants In Southern Hemisphere Richer And More Diversified Than Northern Hemisphere Ants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506094103.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Ants In Southern Hemisphere Richer And More Diversified Than Northern Hemisphere Ants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506094103.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) — Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins