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 September 21, 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 September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
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