Breakdown of an Ant-Plant Mutualism Follows the Loss of Large Herbivores from an African Savanna

  title={Breakdown of an Ant-Plant Mutualism Follows the Loss of Large Herbivores from an African Savanna},
  author={T. M. Palmer and M. Stanton and T. Young and J. Goheen and Robert M. Pringle and R. Karban},
  pages={192 - 195}
  • T. M. Palmer, M. Stanton, +3 authors R. Karban
  • Published 2008
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Science
  • Mutualisms are key components of biodiversity and ecosystem function, yet the forces maintaining them are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of removing large mammals on an ant-Acacia mutualism in an African savanna. Ten years of large-herbivore exclusion reduced the nectar and housing provided by plants to ants, increasing antagonistic behavior by a mutualistic ant associate and shifting competitive dominance within the plant-ant community from this nectar-dependent mutualist to an… CONTINUE READING
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