As ecosystems heat and green, ant abundance and diversity increases; but too much heat and these communities lose colonies and species

By Michael Kaspari Lab

Images used by permission of Alex Wild @Myrmecos.

One paradox in the recent flurry of papers reporting insect declines is that insects—ectotherms that rely on external sources of heat—are often predicted to benefit as their environment warms. In an open access paper accepted as a Report in the journal Ecology  our team of ecologists—including Michael Weiser, Jelena Bujan, Karl Roeder, and Kirsten deBeurs—all from the University of Oklahoma, help resolve that paradox.

In a resurvey of 34 North American ecosystems after 20 years—both surveys funded by the National Science Foundation and that contribute to the NEON continental observatory—ant communities from deserts to forest have increased their abundance and diversity, but only up to a point.

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