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• It has long been believed that plant species from the tropics have higher levels of traits associated with resistance to herbivores than do species from higher latitudes. A meta-analysis recently showed that the published literature does not support this theory. However, the idea has never been tested using data gathered with consistent methods from a(More)
Numerous mechanisms are proposed to explain why exotic plants successfully invade natural communities. However, the positive effects of native engineers on exotic plant species have received less consideration. We tested whether the nutrient-rich soil patches created by a native ecological engineer (refuse dumps from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex(More)
Most plant species have a range of traits that deter herbivores. However, understanding of how different defences are related to one another is surprisingly weak. Many authors argue that defence traits trade off against one another, while others argue that they form coordinated defence syndromes. We collected a dataset of unprecedented taxonomic and(More)
Understanding the mechanisms that promote the invasion of natural protected areas by exotic plants is a central concern for ecology. We demonstrated that nests of the leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex lobicornis, near roadsides promote the abundance, growth and reproduction of two exotic plant species, Carduus nutans and Onopordum acanthium, in a national park(More)
Soil disturbances that increase nutrient availability may trigger bottom-up cascading effects along trophic chains. However, the strength and sign of these effects may depend on attributes of the interacting species. Here, we studied the effects of nutrient-rich refuse dumps of the leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex lobicornis, on the food chain composed of(More)
Wildfires are one of the major disturbances in the dynamics of forests and shrublands. However, little is known about their effects on insect communities that contribute to faunal biodiversity and play key roles in the ecosystem's dynamics. An intense and widespread fire occurred in 1999 in the Nahuel Huapi National Park in the Andean forest in northern(More)
Water retention on the leaf surface can be maladaptive to the plant because it increases the colonization of epiphylls and interferes with the physiologic processes of the leaf, diminishing the photosynthetic capacity. To test if leaf driptips facilitate leaf drying after rainfall in a tropical rain forest of Costa Rica, we (1) experimentally measured the(More)
Compensation, the degree of plant recovery after herbivory, is influenced by nutrient availability. The compensatory continuum hypothesis (CCH) predicts that the more abundant the resources in an environment, the greater the potential for compensation. Nutrient-rich patches generated by leaf-cutting ants near their nests could modify plants’ responses to(More)
The design of transport paths in consuming entities that use routes to access food should be under strong selective pressures to reduce costs and increase benefits. We studied the adaptive nature of branching angles in foraging trail networks of the two most abundant tropical leaf-cutting ant species. We mathematically assessed how these angles should(More)
Adequate waste management is vital for the success of social life, because waste accumulation increases sanitary risks in dense societies. We explored why different leaf-cutting ants (LCA) species locate their waste in internal nest chambers or external piles, including ecological context and accounting for phylogenetic relations. We propose that waste(More)