Séminaire AMAP - Résultats & Programmes

Ant-plant interactions in the Amazon rainforest. A brief overview of certainties and new questions

25/06/2024 de 11h00 à 12h00PS 2 salle 201

biological organization. They allow organisms to thrive in otherwise marginal habitats, reduce competition, exploit new niches, and buffer against environmental variability. A classic example is the relationship between ants and plants (myrmecophytes), where ants are attracted to specific plant structures (e.g., food bodies, extrafloral nectaries, or shelter) and in return, provide indirect defense against herbivores, pathogens, and invasive vegetation. These interactions range from opportunistic and facultative associations to specific obligate symbioses. Research indicates that ant symbionts offer defensive benefits to their host plants and also extend protection to neighboring plants. Additionally, they may supply essential resources such as water, light, or nutrients critical for development and survival.
While most literature shows the benefits of ants’ mutualisms for a plant, an analysis of mortality rates of myrmecophytes in Yasuní National Park (Amazonian Ecuador) reveals counterintuitive patterns raising new questions on the overall impact of these animals on the physiology of its host plants