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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Ants of the CTFS-ForestGEO Plot at Harvard Forest 2018

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  • Lead: Aaron Ellison
  • Investigators: Maggie Anderson, Grace Duah, Monica Velasco, Max Ferlauto, Hannah Buckley
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2018
  • End date: 2018
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Prospect Hill Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.54
  • Longitude: -72.18
  • Elevation: 340 to 368 meter
  • Taxa: Acer rubrum (red maple), Aphaenogaster sp., Camponotus sp., Formica sp., Lasius sp., Myrmecina sp., Myrmica sp., Pinus strobus (white pine), Quercus rubra (red oak), Stenamma sp., Temnothorax sp., Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
  • Release date: 2018
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.310.3
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: biodiversity studies; large experiments and permanent plot studies; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: ants, biodiversity, hemlock, spatial variability, tree maps
  • Abstract:

    Foundation species in forests are hypothesized to control the diversity of associated organisms and modulate core ecosystem processes. At Harvard Forest, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a foundation species, but its relationship to local biodiversity has not been explored in detail. This project examined co-occurrence relationships (using codispersion statistics) between forest trees and ants in the 35-hectare Forest Dynamics Plot in the Prospect Hill tract at Harvard Forest ("megaplot"), in which more than 100,000 woody stems have been identified, mapped, and measured.

  • Methods:

    Approximately 1000 trees were randomly selected using a spatially-stratified design; the number of trees of each of the four most common tree species in the plot - red maple, white pine, red oak, and eastern hemlock – was proportional to their relative basal area. Sampling algorithm is provided in the archived R file (megaplot-ants-2018-sampling.R). At each tree, ants were sampled within a ring (annulus) whose outer – inner radius = 1m (thus, the area sampled increased linearly with the diamter of the tree). Sampling time was proportionally scaled to annular area, where the smallest possible annulus (around a tree of 10-cm diameter) was sampled for 40 person-minutes.

    After marking out the annulus, ant sampling was done in three steps. First, all the leaf- and twig-litter was removed from the annulus and placed in a covered plastic tub. Second, the area of the annulus was exhaustively searched; 3-4 worker ants were collected from each nest encountered and placed in a 2-ml vial filled with 95% ethanol (1 vial per nest). Third, the leaf- and twig-litter was sieved (1/4" mesh) in the field; any stray workers encountered were collected into another 95% ethanol-filled vial. Following litter sieving, the litter was redistributed around the sampled tree.

    All ant samples were returned to the lab, sorted, and identified. Identifications were checked/confirmed by the PI (Ellison). Nomenclature follows Ellison et. al. (2012) A Field Guide to the Ants of New England, with current updates for Lasius spp. following S. Schär et al. (2018) Journal of Biogeography doi: 10.1111/jbi.13380.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A. 2018. Ants of the CTFS-ForestGEO Plot at Harvard Forest 2018. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF310 (v.3). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf310-01: megaplot ants

  1. date: date
  2. tag: unique stem tag on woody stem in the CTFS-ForestGeo plot. See HF-253
  3. sp: tree species in the CTFS-ForestGeo plot. See HF-253.
    • acerru: Acer rubrum
    • pinust: Pinus strobus
    • querru: Quercus rubra
    • tsugca: Tsuga canadensis
  4. ant.sample.set: sample set
    • 1: samples taken 31 May – 27 June
    • 2: samples taken 28 June – 31 July
  5. ant.vial: vial number in which ants are stored. Numbers restart with ant.sample.set = 2
  6. genus: ant genus. See HF-147
  7. species: ant species. See HF-147
  8. code: ant species code (genspe). See HF-147
  9. num.ants: number of ants collected and stored in the ant.vial (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  10. sample.type: sample type
    • N: sampled from nest
    • L: sampled from leaf litter
  11. notes: additional observations

hf310-02: R code to generate spatial sample of trees

  • Compression: none
  • Format: R script
  • Type: script