Our twelve-month study published in the Asian Myrmecology, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of Asian ants, shows the potential of ant communities to be used as ecological indicators in the tropical peat-swamp forest (TPSF) of Indonesian Borneo. The study was carried in the Natural Laboratory for Study of Peat-swamp Forest (NLPSF) by the researchers of Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF).
Why ants? The answers to that question are many; cost-effective, their senstivity to the environmental changes, and their huge and diverse populations in most terrestrial systems. Taking these as point of departure, the team conducted the research by setting up the honey-baited traps in three different forest disturbance categories (i.e. forest gaps, forest edge, and relatively undesiturbed interior forest) that incorporated one wet and one dry season.
The findings to this research report the differences of ant community composition among three disturbance categories of TPSF Sabangau. The ant capture rates are higher during dry season compared to wet season. However, this does not translate to the significant seasonal differences in ant community compositions. Despite seasonal variation in ant capture rates and in individual responses of a number of indicator taxa, the disturbance categories varied in ant community composition regardless of season.
“The basic take-home message is that ants do appear to be potentially useful ecological disturbance indicators irrespective of seasons” said Dr. Mark Harrison, BNF’s Co-Director.
The research on ants are critical as to provide us with the insightful data that help display seasonal patterns of animals and the forest (disturbances). To illustrate, a number of peat-swamp forest trees may begin flowering and fruiting in response to seasonal triggers that lead to the subsequent variation in the availability of ant food resources. And, because of the naturally high water table that brings flood on the forest floor may affect the ant nest abundance and species richness.
So far, ant research in Borneo has been conducted in Indonesia’s neighbouring country; Malaysia (in the rainforest of Sabah and Sarawak). Yet, little is known about ants study in the peat-swamp forest of Indonesian Borneo. Therefore, we hope that this research may enrich the literature regarding the ants study in TPSF of Indonesia and provide us with informative data for species and forest patterns and conditions. (AE)
The research has been made available and accessible on the following link below:
The citation for the publication:
Schreven S. J. J., Perlett E. D., Jarret B. J., Marchant N. C., Harsanto F.A., Purwanto A., Sýkora K. V. and Harrison M. E. (2018) Forest gaps, edge, and interior support different ant communities in a tropical peat-swamp forest in Borneo.Asian Myrmecology. DOI: 10.20362/am.010010. The hyperlink can refer to the journal page link above.