Iimbovane ant data contributes to scientific publication Print

Data collected by the Iimbovane Outreach project contributed to an recent article that was published in the scientific journal, PLoS One. The paper titled, The Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes do not have exceptional local ant richness, investigated the species richness of local ant communities in the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes.

 These biomes are globally renowned for their exceptionally high levels of regional plant diversity and high levels of endemism of plants, though their local plant richness is less spectacular. Information on invertebrate diversity is scarcer. The authors tackled the question on whether insect diversity too is unusual by using data collected from several long term ant monitoring projects in the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes which included the Iimbovane Outreach Project.

The authors examined whether local ant richness is as one would expect based on global species energy and species climate relationships. They furthermore compared local ant richness to that of similar habitats across the globe and compared regional ant richness with global data.

Results from the paper showed that neither local nor regional ant species richness deviates from what would be expected for a region of that latitude and with that productivity. Local ant richness was also similar to that of similar ecosystems worldwide. The factors that caused the exceptional regional plant diversity thus did not seem to have had the same effect on ants.

To read the paper: Braschler, B., Chown, S.L. and Gaston, K.J. 2012. The Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes do not have exceptional local ant richness. PLoSOne 7(3) 

Dr Brigitte Braschler, lead author of the paper, conducting ant surveys.