Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: September 2017

10 - Integrating Ecological Complexity into Our Understanding of Ant-Plant Mutualism: Ant-Acacia Interactions in African Savannas

from Part III - Ant-Plant Protection Systems under Variable Habitat Conditions
Andrews, P., and Bamford, M.. (2008). Past and present vegetation ecology of Laetoli, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 54,7898.
Archetti, M., Ubeda, F., Fudenberg, D., Green, J., Pierce, N. E., and Yu, D. W.. (2011). Let the right one in: a microeconomic approach to partner choice in mutualisms. American Naturalist 177,7585.
Archibald, S. (2016). Managing the human component of fire regimes: Lessons from Africa. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B 371:20150346.
Archibald, S., Staver, A.C., and Levin, S.A.. (2012). Evolution of human-driven fire regimes in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109, 847852.
Arshad, M. A. (1981). Physical and chemical properties of termite mounds of two species of Macrotermes (Isoptera, Termitidae) and the surrounding soils of the semi-arid savanna of Kenya. Soil Science 132,161174.
Baker, C. (2015). Complexity in Mutualisms: Indirect Interactions with Multiple Parties. Doctoral Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Belsky, A. J., Amundson, R. G., Duxbury, J. M., Riha, S. J., Ali, A. R., and Mwonga, S. M.. (1989). The effects of trees on their physical, chemical, and biological environments in a semi-arid savanna in Kenya. Journal of Applied Ecology 26,10051024.
Brody, A. K., Palmer, T. M., Fox-Dobbs, K. and Doak, D. F.. (2010). Termites, vertebrate herbivores and the fruiting success of Acacia drepanolobium. Ecology 91,399407.
Chomicki, G., Ward, P. S., and Renner, S. S.. (2015). Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses. Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 282,20152200.
Cochard, R., and Edwards, P. J.. (2011). Structure and biomass along an Acacia zanzibarica woodland-savanna gradient in a former ranching area in coastal Tanzania. Journal of Vegetation Science 22,475489.
Davidson, D. W., Longino, J. T., and Snelling, R. R.. (1988). Pruning of host plant neighbors by ants: An experimental approach. Ecology 69,801808.
Davidson, D. W., and McKey, D.. (1993). The evolutionary ecology of symbiotic ant – plant relationships. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 2,1383.
Dayton, P. K. (1972). Toward an understanding of community resilience and the potential effects of enrichments to the benthos at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Pages 8196. In Proceedings of the Colloquium on Conservation Problems. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Fiala, B., Maschwitz, U., Pong, T. Y., and Helbig, A. J.. (1989). Studies of a South East Asian ant-plant association: protection of Macaranga trees by Crematogaster borneensis. Oecologia 79,463470.
Ford, A. T., Goheen, J. R., Otieno, T. O., Arcese, P., Palmer, T. M., Woodroffe, R., Ward, D., and Pringle, R. M.. (2014). Large carnivores make savanna tree communities less thorny. Science 346,346349.
Fox-Dobbs, K., Doak, D. F., Brody, A. K., and Palmer, T. M.. (2010). Termites create spatial structure and govern ecosystem function by affecting N-2 fixation in an East African savanna. Ecology 91,12961307.
Frederickson, M. E. (2009). Conflict over reproduction in an ant-plant symbiosis: why Allomerus octoarticulatus ants sterilize Cordia nodosa trees. American Naturalist 173,675681.
Frederickson, M. E., Ravenscraft, A., Miller, G. A., Hernandez, L. M. A., Booth, G., and Pierce, N. E.. (2012). The direct and ecological costs of an ant-plant symbiosis. American Naturalist 179,768778.
Goheen, J. R., and Palmer, T. M.. (2010). Defensive plant-ants stabilize megaherbivore-driven landscape change in an African savanna. Current Biology 20,17681772.
Heil, M. (2013. Let the best one stay: screening of ant defenders by Acacia host plants functions independently of partner choice or host sanctions. Journal of Ecology 101,684688.
Heil, M., and McKey, D.. (2003). Protective ant-plant interactions as model systems in ecological and evolutionary research. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 34,425453.
Hocking, B. (1970). Insect associations with the swollen thorn acacias. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 122,211255.
Holdo, R. M., Sinclair, A. R. E., Dobson, A. P., Metzger, K. L., Bolker, B. M., Ritchie, M. E., and Holt, R. D.. (2009). A disease-mediated trophic cascade in the Serengeti and its implications for ecosystem C. Plos Biology 7, e1000210.
Huntzinger, M., Karban, R., Young, T. P., and Palmer, T. M.. (2004). Relaxation of induced indirect defenses of acacias following exclusion of mammalian herbivores. Ecology 85,609614.
Huxley, C. R. (1978). The ant-plants Myrmecodia and Hydnophytum (Rubiaceae), and the relationships between their morphology, ant occupants, physiology and ecology. New Phytologist 80,231268.
Janzen, D. H. (1966). Coevolution of mutualism between ants and acacias in Central America. Evolution 20,249275.
Janzen, D. H. (1969). Allelopathy by myrmecophytes: the ant Azteca as an allelopathic agent of Cecropia. Ecology 50,147153.
Madden, D., and Young, T. P.. (1992). Symbiotic ants as an alternative defense against giraffe herbivory in spinescent Acacia drepanolobium. Oecologia 91,235238.
Martins, D. J. (2010). Not all ants are equal: obligate acacia ants provide different levels of protection against mega-herbivores. African Journal of Ecology 48,11151122.
Martins, D. J. (2013). Effect of parasitoids, seed-predators and ant-mutualists on fruiting success and germination of Acacia drepanolobium in Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 51,562570.
Midgley, J. J., Sawe, T., Abanyam, P., Hintsa, K., and Gacheru, P.. (2016). Spinescent East African savannah acacias also have thick bark, suggesting they evolved under both an intense fire and herbivory regime. African Journal of Ecology 54,118120.
Morawetz, W., henzl, M., and Wallnöfer, B.. (1992). Tree killing by herbicide producing ants for the establishment of pure Tococa occidentalis populations in the Peruvian Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation 1,1933.
Ness, J. H. (2006). A mutualism’s indirect costs: the most aggressive plant bodyguards also deter pollinators. Oikos 113,506514.
Okello, B. D., O’Connor, T. G., and Young, T. P.. (2001). Growth, biomass estimates, and charcoal production of Acacia drepanolobium in Laikipia, Kenya. Forest Ecology and Management 142,143153.
Okello, B. D., and Young, T. P.. (2000). Effects of fire, bruchid beetles and soil type on the germination and seedling establishment of Acacia drepanolobium. African Journal of Range and Forage Science 17,4561.
Okello, B. D., Young, T. P., Riginos, C., Kelly, D., and O’Connor, T. G.. (2008). Short-term survival and long-term mortality of Acacia drepanolobium after a controlled burn. African Journal of Ecology 46,395401.
Palmer, T. M. (2001). Competition and Coexistence in a Guild of African Acacia-Ants. PhD dissertation. University of California Davis, Davis, CA.
Palmer, T. M. (2003). Spatial habitat heterogeneity influences competition and coexistence in an African acacia ant guild. Ecology 84,28432855.
Palmer, T. M. (2004). Wars of attrition: colony size determines competitive outcomes in a guild of African acacia-ants. Animal Behaviour 68,9931004.
Palmer, T. M., and Brody, A. K.. (2007). Mutualism as reciprocal exploitation: ant guards defend foliar but not reproductive structures of an African ant-plant. Ecology 88,30043011.
Palmer, T. M., and Brody, A. K.. (2013). Enough is enough: the effects of symbiotic ant abundance on herbivory, growth and reproduction in an African acacia. Ecology 94,683691.
Palmer, T. M., Doak, D. F., Stanton, M. L., Bronstein, J. L., Kiers, E. T., Young, T. P., Goheen, J. R., and Pringle, R. M.. (2010). Synergy of multiple partners, including freeloaders, increases host fitness in a multispecies mutualism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107,1723417239.
Palmer, T. M., Pringle, E. G., Stier, A. C., and Holt, R. D.. (2015). Mutualism in a community context. Pages 159180. In Bronstein, J. L., editor. Mutualism. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Palmer, T. M., Stanton, M. L., Young, T. P., Goheen, J. R., Pringle, R. M., and Karban, R.. (2008a). Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African Savanna. Science 319,192195.
Palmer, T. M., Stanton, M. L., Young, T. P., Goheen, J. R., Pringle, R. M., and Karban, R.. (2008b). Putting ant-Acacia mutualisms to the fire – response. Science 319,17601761.
Palmer, T. M., Young, T. P., and Stanton, M. L.. (2002). Burning bridges: Priority effects and the persistence of a competitively subordinate acacia-ant in Laikipia, Kenya. Oecologia 133,372379.
Palmer, T. M., Young, T. P., Stanton, M. L., and Wenk, E.. (2000). Short-term dynamics of an acacia ant community in Laikipia, Kenya. Oecologia 123,425435.
Pringle, E. G., Akcay, E., Raab, T. K., Dirzo, R., and Gordon, D. M.. (2013). Water stress strengthens mutualism among ants, trees, and scale insects. Plos Biology 11, e1001705.
Pringle, E. G., Dirzo, R., and Gordon, D. M.. (2011). Indirect benefits of symbiotic coccoids for an ant-defended myrmecophytic tree. Ecology 92,3746.
Pringle, R. M., Doak, D. F., Brody, A. K., Jocque, R., and Palmer, T. M.. (2010). Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem functioning in an African savanna. Plos Biology 8, e1000377.
Pringle, R. M., and Fox-Dobbs, K.. (2008). Coupling of canopy and understory food webs by ground-dwelling predators. Ecology Letters 11,13281337.
Pringle, R. M., Prior, K. M., Palmer, T. M., Young, T. P., and Goheen, J. R.. (2016). Large herbivores promote habitat specialization and beta diversity of African savanna trees. Ecology 97,2640–2657.
Riginos, C. (2015). Climate and the landscape of fear in an African savanna. Journal of Animal Ecology 84,124133.
Riginos, C., Grace, J. B., Augustine, D. J., and Young, T. P.. (2009). Local versus landscape-scale effects of savanna trees on grasses. Journal of Ecology 97,13371345.
Riginos, C., Karande, M. A., Rubenstein, D. I., and Palmer, T. M.. (2015). Disruption of a protective ant-plant mutualism by an invasive ant increases elephant damage to savanna trees. Ecology 96,654661.
Rudolph, K. P., and McEntee, J. P.. (2016). Spoils of war and peace: enemy adoption and queen-right colony fusion follow costly intraspecific conflict in acacia ants. Behavioral Ecology 27,793802.
Ruiz-Guajardo, J. C., Grossenbacher, D., Grosberg, R. K., Palmer, T. M., and Stanton, M. L.. (2017). Impacts of worker density in colony-level aggression, expansion, and survival of the acacia-ant Crematogaster mimosae. Ecological Monographs 87: 246259.
Sagers, C. L., Ginger, S. M., and Evans, R. D.. (2000). Carbon and nitrogen isotopes trace nutrient exchange in an ant-plant mutualism. Oecologia 123,582586.
Sensenig, R. L., Kimuyu, D. K., Ruiz-Guajardo, J. C., Riginos, C., and Young, T. P.. (2017). Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant-plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species. Ecology 98, 14551464.
Stanton, M. L. (2003). Interacting guilds: moving beyond the pairwise perspective on mutualisms. American Naturalist 162,S10S23.
Stanton, M. L., and Palmer, T. M.. (2011). The high cost of mutualism: effects of four species of East African ant symbionts on their myrmecophyte host tree. Ecology 92,10731082.
Stanton, M. L., Palmer, T. M., and Young, T. P.. (2002). Competition-colonization trade-offs in a guild of African acacia-ants. Ecological Monographs 72,347363.
Stanton, M. L., Palmer, T. M., and Young, T. P.. (2005). Ecological barriers to early colony establishment in three coexisting acacia-ant species in Kenya. Insectes Sociaux 52,393401.
Stanton, M. L., Palmer, T. M., Young, T. P., Evans, A., and Turner, M. L.. (1999). Sterilization and canopy modification of a swollen thorn acacia tree by a plant-ant. Nature 401,578581.
Stapley, L. (1998). The interaction of thorns and symbiotic ants as an effective defence mechanism of swollen-thorn acacias. Oecologia 115,401405.
Styrsky, J. D., and Eubanks, M. D.. (2007). Ecological consequences of interactions between ants and honeydew-producing insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 274,151164.
Tarnita, C. E., Palmer, T. M., and Pringle, R. M.. (2014). Colonisation and competition dynamics can explain incomplete sterilisation parasitism in ant-plant symbioses. Ecology Letters 17,12901298.
Visiticao, J. M. (2011). Multi-Species Interactions in African Ant-Acacias. PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Vollrath, F., and Douglas-Hamilton, I.. (2002). African bees to control African elephants. Naturwissenschaften 89,508511.
Willmer, P. G., Nuttman, C. V., Raine, N. E., Stone, G. N., Pattrick, J. G., Henson, K., Stillman, P., McIlroy, L., Potts, S. G., and Knudsen, J. T.. (2009). Floral volatiles controlling ant behaviour. Functional Ecology 23,888900.
Willmer, P. G., and Stone, G. N.. (1997). How aggressive ant-guards assist seed-set in Acacia flowers. Nature 388,165167.
Wood, W. F., and Chong, B.. (1975). Alarm pheremones of the east African acacia symbionts: Crematogaster mimosae and C. negriceps. Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society 10,332334.
Young, T. P., Okello, B. D., Kinyua, D., and Palmer, T. M.. (1998). KLEE: a long-term multi-species herbivore exclusion experiment in Laikipia, Kenya. African Journal of Range Forage Science 14,94102.
Young, T. P., Stubblefield, C. H., and Isbell, L. A.. (1997). Ants on swollen-thorn acacias: species coexistence in a simple system. Oecologia 109,98107.
Yu, D. W., Wilson, H. B., Frederickson, M. E., Palomino, W., De la Colina, R., Edwards, D. P., and Balareso, A. A.. (2004). Experimental demonstration of species coexistence enabled by dispersal limitation. Journal of Animal Ecology 73,11021114.