Heraldo Vasconcelos

Heraldo Vasconcelos
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU) | UFU · Institute of Biology (IB)

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249
Publications
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Publications

Publications (249)
Article
Full-text available
Natural landscapes are facing rapid transformation in many parts of the world, but the consequences of such changes for insects are poorly known. We evaluated how the conversion of the savannas and forests from Brazil´s Cerrado into lands devoted to intensive agriculture, livestock, or plantation forestry affects euglossine bees. We determined the...
Article
1. The conversion of natural habitats into anthropogenic uses is a key driver of global biodiversity loss, but effects can vary among taxa and diversity metrics. This has important implications for the use of bioindicators in land management. 2. We evaluated the local-scale responses of multiple faunal taxa to land-use change in the Brazilian Cerra...
Article
Most comparative studies of biological communities in different biogeographical regions highlight ecological convergence under matched environments. Here we use savanna ant communities as a striking example where such convergence has not occurred. The savanna ant faunas of Australia, Brazil and Africa have very different functional composition due...
Article
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Ants, an ecologically successful and numerically dominant group of animals, play key ecological roles as soil engineers, predators, nutrient recyclers, and regulators of plant growth and reproduction in most terrestrial ecosystems. Further, ants are widely used as bioindicators of the ecological impact of land use. We gathered information of ant sp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Although savanna woody encroachment has become a global phenomenon, few studies have simultaneously evaluated its effects on multiple dimensions and levels of savanna biodiversity. We evaluated how the progressive increase in tree cover in a fire-suppressed savanna landscape affects the taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity of neotropic...
Article
Comprehension of the benefits involved in mutualisms is crucial to disentangle the role of interactions in the structure and functioning of populations, communities and ecosystems. In ant-plant mutualisms, benefits provided by plants to ants are immediately recognizable, but reverse benefits are less obvious, conditional and accumulate over longer...
Article
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Florivory is an ancient interaction which has rarely been quantified owing to a lack of standardized protocols, thus impairing biogeographical and phylogenetic comparisons. We created a global, continuously-updated, open-access database comprising 180 species and 64 families to compare floral damage between tropical and temperate plants, to examine...
Article
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Fire-suppression is of concern in fire-prone ecosystems because it can result in the loss of endemic species. Suppressing fires also causes a build-up of flammable biomass, increasing the risk of severe fires. Using a Before-After, Control-Impacted design, we assessed the consequences of high-severity fires on Neotropical savanna arboreal ant commu...
Article
In the south of Brazil, grasslands are naturally widespread over two different biomes, the Pampa in the southernmost region and within the Atlantic Forest in the northern portions. The natural grasslands of the state of Paraná comprise a very particular physiognomy composed of two distinct formations: the Campos Gerais and the grasslands of the sou...
Article
Studies comparing different land covers clearly show that land-use change commonly affects animal communities and the ecological functions they play in ecosystems. However, we lack a good understanding of the effects that more subtle changes, those occurring within a land cover type, can have on ecological functions of animals, and if these are als...
Article
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Wood-boring beetle larvae act as ecosystem engineers by creating stem cavities that are used secondarily as nests by many arboreal ant species. Understanding the heterogeneity and distribution of available cavities and their use by ants is therefore key to understanding arboreal ant community assembly and diversity. Our goals were to quantify the a...
Article
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The Program for Biodiversity Research (PPBio) is an innovative program designed to integrate all biodiversity research stakeholders. Operating since 2004, it has installed long-term ecological research sites throughout Brazil and its logic has been applied in some other southern-hemisphere countries. The program supports all aspects of research nec...
Article
How much leaf area do insects eat? A data set of insect herbivory sampled globally with a standardized protocol. Ecology 102(4): Abstract. Herbivory is ubiquitous. Despite being a potential driver of plant distribution and performance, herbivory remains largely undocumented. Some early attempts have been made to review, globally, how much leaf area...
Article
Changes in savanna's fire regimes, either through fire suppression or through an increase in fire frequency, can negatively affect their resilience. We evaluated the extent to which the aboveground biomass, diversity (taxonomic and functional) and resilience (functional redundancy and functional response indices) of savanna tree communities differ...
Article
1. The trophic ecology of organisms is often mediated by habitat characteristics. Ants are key organisms of most food webs, and their diet can be plastic depending on the relative availability of different nutrients. 2. Using stable isotope analysis, we investigated whether there were differences in the trophic position (δ¹⁵N) and/or in the relativ...
Article
The majority of tropical arboreal ant species nest in tree cavities. These cavities, often produced initially by wood‐boring beetles, can be in live or dead wood and represent long‐lasting and highly defensible nesting resources. Yet the size of cavity entrances can constrain their use. Active entrance modification may be an effective way to overco...
Article
Herbivory is ubiquitous. Despite being a potential driver of plant distribution and performance, herbivory remains largely undocumented. Some early attempts have been made to review, globally, how much leaf area is removed through insect feeding. Kozlov et al. (2015), in one of the most comprehensive reviews regarding global patterns of herbivory,...
Article
Pheidole oxyops is a common and widely spread species in the central region of South America. Despite its ecological importance, relatively little is known about its habitat preferences, population dynamics and natural history. Here we provide information about the diet, daily foraging schedule, nest size and densities, and on the influence of habi...
Article
Full-text available
The Program for Biodiversity Research (PPBio) is an innovative program designed to integrate all biodiversity research stakeholders. Operating since 2004, it has installed long-term ecological research sites throughout Brazil and its logic has been applied in some other southern-hemisphere countries. The program supports all aspects of research nec...
Chapter
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Os besouros escarabeíneos são insetos pertencentes à ordem Coleoptera. Eles são conhecidos popularmente como “besouros rola-bosta” devido ao comportamento que várias espécies possuem de rodar bolotas de fezes e as enterrar no solo. Nossos levantamentos na região do Triângulo Mineiro mostram que os besouros escarabeíneos são muito abundantes e diver...
Article
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Ecologically dominant species can shape the assembly of ecological communities via altering competitive outcomes. Moreover , these effects may be amplified under limited niche differentiation. Nevertheless, the influences of ecological dominance and niche differentiation on assembly are rarely considered together. Here, we provide a novel examinati...
Article
Ecologically dominant species can shape the assembly of ecological communities via altering competitive outcomes. Moreover , these effects may be amplified under limited niche differentiation. Nevertheless, the influences of ecological dominance and niche differentiation on assembly are rarely considered together. Here, we provide a novel examinati...
Article
Physical disturbances, such as fire, may affect the relationship between ants and plants. We evaluated the extent to which severe fires alter the protective effect of ants against the herbivores of an extrafloral-nectary bearing tree. We performed an ant removal experiment and sampled the ant fauna from the same trees over 4 years: the pre-fire yea...
Article
Physical disturbances, such as fire, may affect the relationship between ants and plants. We evaluated the extent to which severe fires alter the protective effect of ants against the herbivores of an extrafloral-nectary bearing tree. We performed an ant removal experiment and sampled the ant fauna from the same trees over 4 years: the pre-fire yea...
Article
The amount of reactive nitrogen has more than doubled in terrestrial ecosystems due to human activities such fertiliser application that is predicted to increase dramatically in coming decades. We conducted a 3‐year experiment in a Neotropical savanna in which we determined the effects of increased N deposition on litter decomposition in plots subj...
Article
Dung beetles are an ecologically important group of insects globally, but the ecology of the Australian fauna is poorly known. Here, we report on the first ecological study of dung beetles in an Australian tropical savanna, documenting species composition, food preferences and responses to fire. Dung beetles were baited using dung from five types o...
Article
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• Although the production of extranuptial nectar is a common strategy of indirect defense against herbivores among tropical plants, the presence of extranuptial nectaries in reproductive structures is rare, especially in ant‐plants. This is because the presence of ants in reproductive organs can generate conflicts between the partners, as ants can...
Article
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1. A possible response of many plant species to global warming is migration to higher elevations. However, these migrations may not be required if species can tolerate higher temperatures, or may be prevented if there are other factors such as changes in soil conditions that make upslope areas unsuitable. 2. We used a set of 3‐year field transplant...
Article
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Experimental studies are needed to empirically examine the effects of climate change on terrestrial organisms and to serve as the basis for predictions and management practices. As such, designing and implementing experimental systems that can simulate complex changes in the natural environment is currently a major area of interest of climate chang...
Article
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Although savannas are fire-adapted ecosystems, prescribing fire for biodiversity conservation remains controversial at least in some regions where savannas occur. Faced with uncertainty, many decision makers and even scientists are still reluctant to prescribe fire for conservation purposes in fire-prone ecosystems, invoking the precautionary princ...
Article
There is a growing recognition that spatial scale is important for understanding eco‐ logical processes shaping community membership, but empirical evidence on this topic is still scarce. Ecological processes such as environmental filtering can decrease functional differences among species and promote functional clustering of species assemblages, w...
Article
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There is a growing recognition that spatial scale is important for understanding ecological processes shaping community membership, but empirical evidence on this topic is still scarce. Ecological processes such as environmental filtering can decrease functional differences among species and promote functional clustering of species assemblages, whe...
Article
Biological responses to a disturbance can vary among taxa, which challenges the use of bioindicators for representing biodiversity responses more broadly. Linking ecological traits to disturbance response helps clarify what different bioindicator groups are actually indicating, providing a mechanistic basis for predicting the responses of other tax...
Article
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The fungus-growing ants and their fungal cultivars constitute a classic example of a mutualism that has led to complex coevolutionary dynamics spanning c. 55-65 Ma. Of the five agricultural systems practised by fungus-growing ants, higher-attine agriculture, of which leaf-cutter agriculture is a derived subset , remains poorly understood despite it...
Article
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1. Understanding what creates and maintains macroscale biodiversity gradients is a central focus of ecological and evolutionary research. Spatial patterns in diversity are driven by a hierarchy of factors operating at multiple scales. Historical and climatic factors drive large‐scale patterns of diversity by affecting the size of regional species p...
Article
Habitat destruction is the single greatest anthropogenic threat to biodiversity. Decades of research on this issue have led to the accumulation of hundreds of data sets comparing species assemblages in larger, intact, habitats to smaller, more fragmented, habitats. Despite this, little synthesis or consensus has been achieved, primarily because of...
Article
Aim Similar to species richness, ecological interactions can vary across latitudinal and environmental gradients. Knowing the patterns and drivers of such variation could help us to better understand the role of species interactions in maintaining biodiversity. In this study, we analysed the macroecological patterns of the structure and interaction...
Article
1. Generalist herbivores feed on a wide and diverse set of species, but fine-scale foraging patterns may be affected by the interplay between the quality, quantity and spatial distribution of host-plants. 2. We examined the foraging patterns of a prevalent Neotropical herbivore, the leaf-cutter ant Atta laevigata, in the Brazilian Cerrado savannas...
Article
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The strength of plant-animal diversity relationships tends to be idiosyncratic and, in many cases, its mechanisms are poorly understood. Consequently, the relevance of plant diversity patterns as surrogates of animal diversity patterns is still debated. We evaluated if ants and trees show congruent patterns of species richness and turnover at a reg...
Article
Full-text available
Predicting the outcomes of any mutualistic interaction between ants and plants can be a very difficult task, since these outcomes are often determined by the ecological context in which the interacting species are embedded. Network theory has been an important tool to improve our understanding about the organizational patterns of animal–plant inter...
Article
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Background Ecosystem engineers are species that transform habitats in ways that influence other species.While the impacts of many engineers have been well described, our understanding of how their impact varies along environmental gradients remains limited. Although disentangling the effects of gradients and engineers on biodiversity is complicated...
Article
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Gracilidris pombero Wild & Cuezzo, 2006 is an ant that remains poorly studied. Endemic from South America, its geographical distribution is known from few and scattered collection points. In this study, we present new occurrence records of G. pombero obtained through extensive collections along the Cerrado biome and the Atlantic Forest of northeast...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. Ecosystem Engineers are species that transform habitats in ways that influence other species. While the impacts of many engineers have been well described, our understanding of how their impact varies along environmental gradients remains limited. Although disentangling the effects of gradients and engineers on biodiversity is complicat...
Article
Full-text available
Interspecific trade-offs in foraging strategies can facilitate species coexistence in diverse communities with overlapping resource use, especially in taxa with complex social-foraging strategies. The discovery-dominance trade-off hypothesis is often invoked to help explain coexistence of ant species that use overlapping food resources, wherein col...
Article
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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...
Article
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Understanding how we built our knowledge on species descriptions is especially important in biodiversity hotspots, since those regions potentially harbour many undescribed-endemic species that are already threatened by intensification of human activities. We compiled an extensive dataset on anuran, lizard, and snake assemblages in the Atlantic Fore...
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These data correspond to information on average description year of anuran, lizard, and snake species in multiple localities in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot, as well as data on geographic and socioeconomic variables that potentially explain species discovery trends. More specifically, we provided data on 376 species assemblages of anura...
Article
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https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0085562617300511 The aphids Lipaphis pseudobrassicae (Davis) and Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) are important Brassicaceae pests, occurring worldwide and causing significant damage to crops. Interspecific variations in the resistance to natural enemies can potentially impact the interaction a...
Article
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Aim: To evaluate the extent to which ant species richness in Neotropical savannas varies with macrogeographic variables, and to identify the potential climatic drivers of such variation. Location: The Cerrado savanna biome of central Brazil, in a region spanning ca. 20° of latitude and 18°of longitude. Methods: Standardized sampling of the arboreal...
Article
Full-text available
Leafcutter ants propagate co-evolving fungi for food. The nearly 50 species of leafcutter ants (Atta, Acromyrmex) range from Argentina to the USA, with the greatest species diversity in southern South America. We elucidate the biogeography of fungi cultivated by leafcutter ants using DNA-sequence and microsatellite-marker analyses of 474 cultivars...
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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One of the greatest current challenges to human society is ensuring adequate food production and security for a rapidly growing population under changing climatic conditions. Climate change, and specifically rising temperatures, will alter the suitability of areas for specific crops and cultivation systems. In order to maintain yields, farmers may...
Article
Full-text available
To evaluate the extent to which ant species richness in Neotropical savannas varies with macrogeographic variables, and to identify the potential climatic drivers of such variation. The Cerrado savanna biome of central Brazil, in a region spanning ca. 20° of latitude and 18°of longitude. Standardized sampling of the arboreal and ground-dwelling fau...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical savannas have been increasingly viewed as an opportunity for carbon sequestration through fire suppression and afforestation, but insufficient attention has been given to the consequences for biodiversity. To evaluate the biodiversity costs of increasing carbon sequestration, we quantified changes in ecosystem carbon stocks and the associa...
Article
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The seeds of most tropical plants are dispersed by animals, many of which also act as seed predators. Shifts in animal community composition, such as those driven by the clearing of native vegetation, are therefore likely to drive changes in plant recruitment. We used manipulative experiments excluding ants, small rodents, and birds to quantify the...
Working Paper
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Background. Species that transform habitats in ways that influence other species are known as Ecosystem Engineers. While the impacts of many engineers have been well described, how the impacts of engineers vary along or even alter environmental gradients remains limited. While complicated – the gradients themselves can be altered by engineers – doi...
Article
Full-text available
We report the rediscovery of the exceedingly rarely collected and enigmatic fungus-farming ant species Mycetosoritis asper. Since the description of the type specimen in 1887, only four additional specimens are known to have been added to the world's insect collections. Its biology is entirely unknown and its phylogenetic position within the fungus...
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
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Fungus-farming “attine” ant agriculture consists of five distinct agricultural systems characterized by a remarkable symbiont fidelity in which five phylogenetic groups of ants faithfully cultivate five phylogenetic groups of fungi. Across-system garden switching experiments result in colony decline and death, indicating that attine ant-fungus symb...