The Direct and Ecological Costs of an Ant-Plant Symbiosis

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The Direct and Ecological Costs of an Ant-Plant Symbiosis

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dc.contributor.author Frederickson, Megan E.
dc.contributor.author Ravenscraft, Alison
dc.contributor.author Miller, Gabriel
dc.contributor.author Hernández, Lina M. Arcila
dc.contributor.author Booth, Gregory
dc.contributor.author Pierce, Naomi Ellen
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-24T18:29:13Z
dash.embargo.terms 2013-06-01
dc.date.issued 2012
dc.identifier.citation Frederickson, Megan E., Alison Ravenscraft, Gabirel A. Miller, Lina M. Arcila Hernández, Gregory Booth, and Naomi E. Pierce. 2012. The direct and ecological costs of an ant-plant symbiosis. The American Naturalist 179(6): 768-778. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0003-0147 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9637883
dc.description.abstract How strong is selection for cheating in mutualisms? The answer depends on the type and magnitude of the costs of the mutualism. Here we investigated the direct and ecological costs of plant defense by ants in the association between Cordia nodosa, a myrmecophytic plant, and Allomerus octoarticulatus, a phytoecious ant. Cordia nodosa trees produce food and housing to reward ants that protect them against herbivores. For nearly 1 year, we manipulated the presence of A. octoarticulatus ants and most insect herbivores on C. nodosa in a full-factorial experiment. Ants increased plant growth when herbivores were present but decreased plant growth when herbivores were absent, indicating that hosting ants can be costly to plants. However, we did not detect a cost to ant colonies of defending host plants against herbivores. Although this asymmetry in costs suggests that the plants may be under stronger selection than the ants to cheat by withholding investment in their partner, the costs to C. nodosa are probably at least partly ecological, arising because ants tend scale insects on their host plants. We argue that ecological costs should favor resistance or traits other than cheating and thus that neither partner may face much temptation to cheat. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Organismic and Evolutionary Biology en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher University of Chicago Press en_US
dc.relation.isversionof doi:10.1086/665654 en_US
dash.license LAA
dc.subject ant-plant interactions en_US
dc.subject cheating en_US
dc.subject costs of resistance en_US
dc.subject evolution of mutualism en_US
dc.subject indirect plant defense en_US
dc.title The Direct and Ecological Costs of an Ant-Plant Symbiosis en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Version of Record en_US
dc.relation.journal The American Naturalist en_US
dash.depositing.author Pierce, Naomi Ellen
dc.date.available 2013-06-01T07:30:32Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7362]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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