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Psyche
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 959715, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/959715
Research Article

Annual and Seasonal Changes in the Structure of Litter-Dwelling Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Atlantic Semideciduous Forests

1Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Canopy Insects and Natural Succession, Department of Biodiversity, Evolution and Environment, Federal University of Ouro Preto, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
2Post-Graduate Program in Ecology of Tropical Biomes, Department of Biodiversity, Evolution and Environment, Federal University of Ouro Preto, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
3Departament of Geology, Federal University of Ouro Preto, EM/ Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil

Received 1 June 2011; Revised 12 August 2011; Accepted 13 August 2011

Academic Editor: Jacques H. C. Delabie

Copyright © 2012 Flávio Siqueira de Castro et al. 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

We surveyed ant fauna in the leaf litter in an Atlantic Semideciduous forest in the State Park of Rio Doce (PERD). The work aimed to produce basic information about habitat effects on diversity, as well as about how the ant fauna in a such buffered forest habitat, as the litter layer, could respond the climate variation in a short and long term. We sampled two years in two distinct forest physiognomies, which respond to different geomorphologic backgrounds, in dry and rainy seasons. Species composition, richness and abundance of these forests were distinct. However, both forests hosted similar numbers of rare and specialized, habitat demanding species, thus suggesting both are similarly well preserved, despite distinct physiognomies. However, the lower and more open forest was, more susceptible to dry season effects, showing a steeper decline in species numbers in such season, but similar numbers in the wet seasons. The pattern varied between years, which corroborates the hypothesis of a strongly variable community in response to subtle climatic variation among years. The present results are baselines for future long term monitoring projects, and could support protocols for early warnings of global climatic changes effects on biodiversity.