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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at] Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions
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Turning up the heat on global hotspots of marine biodiversity

Turning up the heat on global hotspots of marine biodiversity

The year 2016 has been the hottest on record, reflecting a generally rising trend in the Earth's temperature. Understanding the global distribution of these changes is extremely important to be able to assess the threats that local ecosystems must face. Is this trend the same everywhere around the world? How can this be determined in an environment as remote, vast and inaccessible as the ocean? This study determined that there are places where the temperature increase and associated environmental changes have been much greater than elsewhere. Remote sensing data gathered over more than 30 years from a whole constellation of satellites orbiting our planet and imaging its surface allowed the authors to look at our planet from the right perspective. This information was used to determine how the temperature, productivity and currents of our oceans have changed over the last three decades for the entire planet. Climate-driven environmental changes were found, not surprisingly, not evenly distributed. However, by overlaying the areas affected by climate-driven change with areas of high biodiversity, particularly vulnerable areas of ocean located near the poles and the equator were identified. For instance, the North Sea, between America and Europe, and all the marine areas connected by the Labrador Current have experienced one of the largest global increases in ocean temperature. Near the equator, there has been a large increase in the velocity of marine currents. All of these changes are likely to affect the marine organisms living in those places. This study contributes to the international effort to mitigate the causes and consequences of climate change. Ramírez et al (2017) Climate impacts on global hotspots of marine biodiversity. Sci Adv 3 e1601198 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601198