Ants : Standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity



Numbering more than nine thousand described species, ants rank among the most abundant and widespread groups. The collective weight of ants in tropical forests and grasslands may constitute as much as 10 to 15 percent of the animal biomass. Ground-dwelling ants are major invertebrate predators in some areas, and they also have profound effects on flora because of their prodigious ability to consume plants, disperse seeds, and enrich the soil. Interacting with other organisms at every level, ants are ubiquitous, diverse, easy to collect, and sensitive to environmental change -- all attributes that make them well suited to biodiversity studies.
Written by thirty leading ant biologists, this comprehensive book describes procedures for surveying the diversity of ground-dwelling ants. It introduces a standardized protocol for collecting ant samples in any part of the world and for conducting repeated sampling over time, which enables researchers to analyze global and longterm patterns. Chapters compare ant diversity to the diversity of other organisms and explain the value of ant studies in monitoring ecosystem change in diverse regions, including Madagascar, Malaysia, India, and Brazil.

Covering aspects of ant ecology and taxonomy, species identification, specimen preparation, and sources of sampling equipment, this book provides the necessary foundation for readers from a wide range of backgrounds. It is indispensable not only to ant researchers but also to entomologists, conservationists, students, land managers, and others who assess biodiversity or environmental impacts.

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  • Foreword. Wilson, E.O.
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Biodiversity Studies, Monitoring, and Ants: An Overview
  • Chapter 2: A Primer in Ant Ecology
  • Chapter 3: A Global Ecology of Rainforest Ants: Functional Groups in Relation to Environmental Stress and Disturbance
  • Chapter 4: The Interaction of Ants with Other Organisms
  • Chapter 5: Diversity of Ants
  • Chapter 6: Ants as Indicators of Diversity
  • Chapter 7: Using Ants to Monitor Environmental Change
  • Chapter 8: Broad-scale Patterns of Diversity in Leaf litter Ant Communities
  • Chapter 9: Field Techniques for the Study of Ground-Dwelling Ants: An Overview, Description and Evaluation
  • Chapter 10: Sampling Effort and Choise of Methods
  • Chapter 11: Specimen Processing: Building and Curating an Ant Collection
  • Chapter 12: Major Regional and Type Collections of Ants (Formicidae) of the World and Sources for the Identification of Ant Species
  • Chapter 13: What to Do with the Data
  • Chapter 14: The ALL Protocol: A Standard Protocol for the Collection of Ground-Dwelling Ants
  • Chapter 15: Applying the ALL Protocol: Selected Case Studies
  • Appendix 1: List and Sources of Materials for Ant Sampling Methods
  • Appendix 2: Ant Survey Data Sheet
  • Appendix 3: List of Material for Ant Specimen Processing
  • Glossary
  • Literature Cited
  • Contributors
  • Index