Alejandro G Farji-Brener

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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)
Selective pressure for choosing an adequate habitat should be strong in semisedentary animals because they have limited mobility once established. I examined microhabitat preferences and the adaptive value of these preferences in the antlion larva Myrmeloen crudelis, a semisedentary insect that digs pit traps in soils to capture small arthropods. I tested(More)
• 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)
I evaluated the hypothesis that leaf-cutting ants are more common in early successional forests than in old-growth forests because pioneer species, which dominate in early successional habitats, appear more susceptible to leafcutters than shade-tolerant species, which dominate primary forests (palatable forage hypothesis). The relative importance of pioneer(More)
In leaf-cutting ants, the handling of waste materials from the fungus culture increases the risk of infection. Consequently, ants should manage their waste in a way that minimizes the spread of diseases. We investigated whether in Acromyrmex lobicornis, waste-worker ants (a) also perform roles in foraging or mound maintenance, (b) are morphologically(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)
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)
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)
Small-scale disturbances caused by animals often modify soil resource availability and may also affect plant attributes. Changes in the phenotype of plants growing on disturbed, nutrient-enriched microsites may influence the distribution and abundance of associated insects. We evaluated how the high nutrient availability generated by leaf-cutting ant nests(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)