David A. Donoso

David A. Donoso
Escuela Politécnica Nacional | EPN · Departamento de Biología

PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

About

103
Publications
112,762
Reads
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1,708
Citations
Citations since 2016
72 Research Items
1558 Citations
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Introduction
Our Antlab's interests lie in the interactions between community and ecosystem ecology. Questions we'd like to answer go around: Why are there so many species in the tropics? What ecosystem functions are they responsible for? How are tropical species responding to climate change? We answer these questions studying beasts in Natural History Museums and doing fielwork around the globe. Please visit: http://theantsofecuador.com
Additional affiliations
April 2016 - present
Escuela Politécnica Nacional
Position
  • Curator of Entomology
October 2015 - April 2016
University of Cuenca
Position
  • Docente Investigador
January 2013 - September 2015
Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja
Position
  • Docente Investigador
Education
August 2006 - May 2012
University of Oklahoma
Field of study
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Publications

Publications (103)
Article
Communities change with time. Studying long-term change in community structure permits deeper understanding of community dynamics, and allows us to forecast community responses to perturbations at local (e.g. fire, secondary succession) and global (e.g. desertification, global warming) spatial scales. Monitoring efforts exploring the temporal dynam...
Article
Full-text available
Risky in the tropics It is well known that diversity increases toward the tropics. Whether this increase translates into differences in interaction rates among species, however, remains unclear. To simplify the problem, Roslin et al. tested for predation rates by using a single approach involving model caterpillars across six continents. Predator a...
Article
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Significance Although plants and their herbivores account for most of macroscopic, terrestrial biodiversity, we do not fully understand the evolutionary origins of this high diversity. Coevolutionary theory proposes that adaptations between plants and their herbivores are reciprocal and that their interactions might have driven diversification and...
Article
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During crop domestication, human farmers traded greater productivity for higher crop vulnerability outside specialized cultivation conditions. We found a similar domestication trade-off across the major co-evolutionary transitions in the farming systems of attine ants. First, the fundamental nutritional niches of cultivars narrowed over ~60 million...
Article
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Biodiversity and ecosystem functions are highly threatened by global change. It has been proposed that geodiversity can be used as an easy-to-measure surrogate of biodiversity to guide conservation management. However, so far, there is mixed evidence to what extent geodiversity can predict biodiversity and ecosystem functions at the regional scale...
Article
Grazing represents the most extensive use of land worldwide. Yet its impacts on ecosystem services remain uncertain because pervasive interactions between grazing pressure, climate, soil properties, and biodiversity may occur but have never been addressed simultaneously. Using a standardized survey at 98 sites across six continents, we show that in...
Article
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Tropical mountain ranges shape the structure of tree communities and promote highly diverse natural habitats. The “Bosque Protector Chongón-Colonche” (BPCC), an 86,000-ha mountain formation situated on the coast of Ecuador, is biogeographically important for the region by connecting floristic elements of the wet Choco and the dry Tumbesian forests....
Article
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Invertebrates constitute the majority of animal species and are critical for ecosystem functioning and services. Nonetheless, global invertebrate biodiversity patterns and their congruences with vertebrates remain largely unknown. We resolve the first high-resolution (~20-km) global diversity map for a major invertebrate clade, ants, using biodiver...
Article
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The soil fauna of the tropics remains one of the least known components of the biosphere. Long-term monitoring of this fauna is hampered by the lack of taxonomic expertise and funding. These obstacles may potentially be lifted with DNA metabarcoding. To validate this approach, we studied the ants, springtails and termites of 100 paired soil samples...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ability to use small molecule alkaloids as defensive chemicals has evolved in many organisms, often via trophic interactions due to dietary specialization. Animals with diet-derived defenses must balance food choices to maintain their defense reservoirs along with other physiological needs. However, environmental availability of prey and dietar...
Article
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Tropical forests sustain many ant species whose mating events often involve conspicuous flying swarms of winged gynes and males. The success of these reproductive flights depends on environmental variables and determines the maintenance of local ant diversity. However, we lack a strong understanding of the role of environmental variables in shaping...
Article
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Regrowing secondary forests dominate tropical regions today, and a mechanistic understanding of their recovery dynamics provides important insights for conservation. In particular, land‐use legacy effects on the fauna have rarely been investigated. One of the most ecologically dominant and functionally important animal groups in tropical forests ar...
Article
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Taxonomic monographs synthesize biodiversity knowledge and document biodiversity change through recent and geological time for a particular organismal group, sometimes also incorporating cultural and place-based knowledge. They are a vehicle through which broader questions about ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes can be generated an...
Article
Termites are key soil bioturbators in tropical ecosystems. Apart from mound nests constructed by some advanced lineages, most of the species use their faeces, oral secretions, debris, or soil aggregates to protect themselves from predators and desiccation when they go out to forage. Although this soil ‘sheeting’ is considered to play a key role in...
Article
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Composition, diversity, and structure of trees in tropical montane forests are responsive to ecological gradients and local succession. Those parameters are a result of ecological interactions between vegetation, environment, and location. This study identified floristic groups on mainly secondary forests and evaluated how the composition, diversit...
Article
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Robust data to refute or support claims of global insect decline are currently lacking, particularly for the soil fauna in the tropics. DNA metabarcoding represents a powerful approach for rigorous spatial and temporal monitoring of the taxonomically challenging soil fauna. Here, we provide a detailed field protocol, which was successfully applied...
Article
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Flies in the order Diptera are of forensic value because many species leave tractable evidence while harvesting nutrients from decomposing corpses. From December 2015 to January 2017, 41 fly specimens were collected in human bodies at crime scenes and autopsies across the south of Ecuador. Six species, e.g., Chrysomya albiceps (Widemann 1819), Chry...
Article
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RESUMEN.-El trabajo interdisciplinario de ciencias como criminalística de campo, medicina legal, biología forense, entomología forense, permiten lograr una investigación técnico-científica más objetiva y eficaz al momento de analizar un hecho delictivo. El presente trabajo se enfoca en la labor de la entomología forense en la investigación de un pr...
Article
Full-text available
El trabajo interdisciplinario de ciencias como criminalística de campo, medicina legal, biología forense, entomología forense, entre otras permiten lograr una investigación técnico-científica más objetiva y eficaz al momento de analizar un hecho delictivo. El presente trabajo se enfoca en la labor de la entomología forense en la investigación de un...
Article
Parasitism represents an important ecosystem service, reducing pest abundance. Since most hosts of parasitoids are herbivores, plant diversity likely shapes both herbivore and parasitoid assemblages.While restoration efforts are being adopted worldwide, mitigating habitat degradation, little is known about how tritrophic webs are organized among pl...
Article
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Green bottle flies (Diptera, Calliphoridae, Luciliinae) comprise a diverse and cosmopolitan taxon, known from at least 1,500 species. They have become crucial elements in forensic investigations, as they spend part of their life cycle in decaying remains. Here, we review the distribution of eleven Luciliinae species in Ecuador: the monotypic Blepha...
Article
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Water contamination is a major environmental problem in many cities of the world. Most water contamination results from industry and human activities that generate toxic substances (e.g., metals). Rheophilic and aquatic mosses are found in lotic ecosystems, and their morphological and physiological traits are responsive to ecological and pollution...
Article
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One of the largest species in its genus, Odontomachus davidsoni Hoenle, Lattke & Donoso, sp. nov. is described from workers and queens collected at lowland forests in the Chocó-Darién bioregion in coastal Ecuador. The workers are characterized by their uniform red coloration, their large size (16–18 mm body length), and their frontal head striation...
Article
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Much of the world’s biodiversity is held within tropical rainforests, which are increasingly fragmented by agricultural practices. In these threatened landscapes, there are many organisms that acquire chemical defenses from their diet and are therefore intimately connected with their local food webs. Poison frogs (Family Dendrobatidae) are one such...
Cover Page
Full-text available
Es para mi un privilegio presentar las memorias del XII Coloquio IUSSI, Sección Andina y del Caribe, efectuado en la ciudad de Quito, Ecuador, del 5-8 de agosto del 2019. Durante este encuentro tuvimos 35 exposiciones y 6 ponencias magistrales de participantes que en su mayoría vinieron de Centro y Sudamérica. En este Coloquio, las conferencias se...
Article
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Se han encendido las alarmas, ¡peligro, peligro! En diarios y noticieros, los científicos, políti-cos y economistas reportan la desapa-rición de insectos en lugares tan le-janos como Alemania y Puerto Rico ¿Se acerca el fin del mundo? Quizá sí. Se atribuye a apicultores belgas, y no a Albert Einstein, la famosa frase "Si las abejas desaparecen, al...
Preprint
Full-text available
Much of the worlds biodiversity is held within tropical rainforests, which are increasingly fragmented by agricultural practices. In these threatened landscapes, there are many organisms that acquire chemical defenses from their diet and are therefore intimately connected with their local food webs. Poison frogs (Family Dendrobatidae) are one such...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the widespread occurrence of myrmecophagy in anurans, it is unclear whether ant-specialists feed on ants opportunistically or whether they prefer species with specific morphological, ecological, or nutritional traits. We flushed 105 stomachs of a lowland neotropical toad, Rhinella alata, and identified each consumed ant to species level. We...
Preprint
Full-text available
Our goal was to test the hypothesis that assembly processes that limit species similarity (i.e., competition) predominantly occur in more "stable" abiotic environments, whereas habitat filtering (i.e., habitat characteristics) is a major driver of community composition within more variable environments at regional (e.g., aseasonal vs seasonal fores...
Chapter
The ant subfamily Agroecomyrmecinae Carpenter, 1930, is composed by five genera, two of which Ankylormyrma Bolton, 1973 and Tatuidris Brown y Kempf, 1968 are extant, and only one (Tatuidris) is present in the Neotropical region and Colombia. Tatuidris is composed by only one species, Tatuidris tatusia Brown y Kempf, 1968. T. tatusia is widely distr...
Article
Army ants are among the top arthropod predators and considered keystone species in tropical ecosystems. During daily mass raids with many thousand workers, army ants hunt live prey, likely exerting strong top‐down control on prey species. Many tropical sites exhibit a high army ant species diversity (>20 species), suggesting that sympatric species...
Article
Full-text available
Aquatic and rheophilous bryophytes can indicate water pollution as they bioaccumulate toxic water elements. We evaluated (1) bioaccumulation of eight heavy metals and arsenic by Marchantia polymorpha L., and (2) changes in bryophyte community structure, as responses to urban pollution in southern Ecuador. To this end, we registered presence/absence...
Article
Full-text available
In forensic science, fly larval size and developmental time help to estimate the time elapsed since a person has died until the body is found, generally known as minimum postmortem interval (mPMI). Lucilia sericata (Meigen 1826) is a cosmopolitan and necrophagous fly species (Diptera: Calliphoridae) that usually colonizes decomposing stages. In thi...
Article
Full-text available
Poison frogs acquire chemical defenses from the environment for protection against potential predators. These defensive chemicals are lipophilic alkaloids that are sequestered by poison frogs from dietary arthropods and stored in skin glands. Despite decades of research focusing on identifying poison frog alkaloids, we know relatively little about...
Data
Diet data for each Mantella laevigata frog. The absolute and relative volume and number for each prey category for each frog is listed and summarized. (XLSX)
Data
Detailed sample information for barcoded “other” prey items. Genetically identifiable ant specimens with exemplar photos representing respective taxonomic groups across seasonal groups are listed with their sample ID’s. (DOCX)
Data
Morphological and genetic identification of ant specimens. For all morphologically or genetically identifiable ant specimens found in M. laevigata stomach contents across wet and dry seasons, we list the sample ID, species name, BOLD and Genbank database IDs and percent matches to these IDs For Genbank-matched individuals, BLASTn hit, specimen Genb...
Data
Detailed sample information for barcoded ant species. Both morphologically and genetically identifiable ant specimens with exemplar photos representing respective taxonomic groups across seasonal groups are listed with their sample ID’s. (DOCX)
Data
Detailed sample information for barcoded arachnid species. Genetically identifiable arachnid specimens with exemplar photos representing respective taxonomic groups across seasonal groups are listed with their sample ID’s. (DOCX)
Data
Arthropod sample barcode information. The details for each cytochrome oxidase 1 barcoded non-ant arthropod is listed with the sample ID, the prey type, and information on the top BLAST hit including the species name, percent identity, and E value. (DOCX)
Data
Environmental information for Sambava, Madagascar. (a) Sambava is roughly 150 km northeast of Nosy Mangabe. Precipitation (blue) and temperature (orange) are shown for 2015 (b) and 2016 (c); field work time is indicated in red. Environmental data was obtained from: https://www.historique-meteo.net/afrique/madagascar/sambava/ (TIF)
Data
Abundance of the 41 alkaloids present in at least half of Mantella laevigata individuals in this study. Abundance is represented by the integrated area under the curve (no units) from the mass spectrometry ion chromatogram for each alkaloid and frog. (XLSX)
Data
Detailed literature information on alkaloids. For each of the 41 identified alkaloids, we list the proposed arthropod origin and whether the alkaloid has been previously found in other mantellid species or other anurans. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Leaf-cutting ants are often considered agricultural pests, but they can also benefit local people and serve important roles in ecosystems. Throughout their distribution, winged reproductive queens of leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta Fabricius, 1804 are consumed as a protein-rich food source and sometimes used for medical purposes. Little is know...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the widespread occurrence of myrmecophagy in anurans it is generally unclear whether ant-specialists feed on ants opportunistically or whether they preferentially select for certain species, potentially favoring specific morphological, ecological, or nutritional traits. We flushed 105 stomachs of a lowland neotropical toad, Rhinella alata ,...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between levels of dominance and species richness is highly contentious, especially in ant communities. The dominance‐impoverishment rule states that high levels of dominance only occur in species‐poor communities, but there appear to be many cases of high levels of dominance in highly diverse communities. The extent to which domina...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Until now 50 ant species have been recorded from the Galapagos Archipelago. Yet, for more than half of them it is still unclear if they are native to the Galapagos or if they are alien introductions. This uncertainty is due to, amongst others, the fact that the ant fauna of mainland South America is far less studied, which renders it difficult to u...
Article
Global extinction drivers, including habitat disturbance and climate change, are thought to affect larger species more than smaller species. However, it is unclear if such drivers interact to affect assemblage body size distributions. We asked how these two key global change drivers differentially affect the interspecific size distributions of ants...
Article
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A finales del siglo XX, el naturalista Daniel Janzen en una conferencia transmitió una idea novedosa. Las palabras exactas se perdieron, pero unos colegas que oyeron al Dr. Janzen parafrasean: "yo quiero que un día todas las especies del mundo puedan identificarse usando una cajita que quepa en la palma de mi mano" ¿Se pueden imaginar? Janzen inclu...
Article
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What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of mo...
Article
Texture information from passive remote sensing images provides surrogates for habitat structure, which is relevant for modeling biodiversity across space and time and for developing effective ecological indicators. However, the applicability of this information might differ among taxa and diversity measures. We compared the ability of indicators d...
Article
Environmental stressors and changes in land use have led to rapid and dramatic species losses. As such, we need effective monitoring programs that alert us not only to biodiversity losses, but also to functional changes in species assemblages and associated ecosystem processes. Ants are important components of terrestrial food webs and a key group...
Article
Full-text available
Global biodiversity loss is creating a more urgent need to understand the role organisms play in ecosystem functioning and mechanisms of control. Decomposition of dead organic matter is a key ecological process that ensures soil formation, nutrient availability, and carbon sequestration. To gain understanding of how biodiversity and ecosystems func...
Article
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In recent years the focus in ecology has shifted from species to a greater emphasis on functional traits. In tandem with this shift, a number of trait databases have been developed covering a range of taxa. Here, we introduce the GlobalAnts database. Globally, ants are dominant, diverse and provide a range of ecosystem functions. The database repre...