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Psyche
Volume 2012, Article ID 415183, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/415183
Research Article

A Survey of Ant Species in Three Habitats at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Department of Biology, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD 21012, USA

Received 18 May 2012; Revised 16 July 2012; Accepted 7 August 2012

Academic Editor: David G. James

Copyright © 2012 Jessamy J. Rango. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Ants were surveyed in three habitats at Mount St. Helens in 2008. The area most impacted by the 1980 eruption is the Pumice Plain. Less impacted is the Blowdown Zone where trees were toppled due to the blast. Two habitats were surveyed in the Pumice Plain varying in vegetation density (Pumice Plain Low-Vegetation (PPLV) and Pumice Plain High-Vegetation (PPHV)), and one habitat was surveyed in the Blowdown Zone (BDZ). Ten ant species were collected with the most species collected from the BDZ habitat and the least from the PPLV habitat. Ant abundance was higher at the BDZ and PPHV habitats than at the PPLV habitat. Ant biodiversity was highest at the BDZ habitat than at the PPHV and PPLV habitats. Significant correlations between ant community parameters and plant community parameters were also found. Few plants in the PPLV habitat may contribute to the lack of ants. High ant species richness at the BDZ habitat may be due to complex plant architecture. Results from this study suggest that ants are important focal species in tracking biotic recovery following disturbances.