Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?
Angelica E Martinez-Bauer, Gerardo Ceron Martinez, Daniel J Murphy, Martin Burd
OECOLOGIA | SPRINGER | Published : 2015
Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia u..View full abstract
We thank the Department of Sustainability and Environment of Victoria for permission to conduct the research (permit#10005111), and Parks Victoria, especially the rangers, for their kind support at the individual parks. We also thank Ken Walker for the identification of flower visitors, Simon Hinkley for ant identification corroboration, Alejandra Moran Ordonez for the sites map, and the anonymous reviewers and the handling editor, Martin Heil, for their valuable comments and suggestions. AMB was supported by a Postgraduate Scholarship from CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia, Mexico), SEP (Secretaria de Educacion Publica, Mexico) and a Dean's Scholarship from the Monash University Faculty of Science. MB was supported by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, North Carolina, during the preparation of the manuscript.