Lambir ants project (proposal)

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Species diversity and abundance of ground dwelling ants between the primary and secondary rain forests of the Lambir Hills National Park


Background

Ants are ubiquitous, it represents 15-20% of total animal biomass and are known to dominate in tropical rain forest both in terms of biomass and the diversity of individuals. They are a major component of rain forest and play an important role in ecosystem. In Lambir Hills National Park there are primary dipterocarp forests and secondary forests. Within the primary and secondary forests, the diversity of ants may vary. Even there can be a change in their species composition. So there can be different indicator species for the two different forest types. The secondary forests are formed by the regenerating trees after deforestation, and hence have more space and light compared to the primary forest. Again, in secondary forest, in addition to native species we also have invasive species, and organisms which disperse to the site from elsewhere. Thus we predict that ant diversity and abundance would be higher in secondary forest compared to the primary forest.

Question

Our question is whether there are differences in species diversity and abundance of ground dwelling ants between the primary and secondary forest habitats.

Hypothesis There is a significant difference in ant diversity and abundance between both the primary and secondary forests. We expect the secondary forest to be more diverse and abundant.

Method

Ants will be collected using pitfall traps in two different habitats (secondary forest, and primary forest). Each habitat will have 3 replication in which 3 pitfall traps will be set up. Specimens will be sorted and identified by using Identification Guide to Bornean Ants. The data will be analyzed using t-test and cluster analysis in R .We would also calculate the ant diversity using the Shannon-Weiner index.