The effects of fire, local environment and time on ant assemblages in fens and forests


*Correspondence: Nathan J. Sanders, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 569 Dabney Hall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA. E-mail:


We investigated the effects of the abiotic environment, plant community composition and disturbance by fire on ant assemblages in two distinct habitat types in the Siskiyou Mountains in northern California and southern Oregon, USA. Sampling over 2 years in burned and unburned Darlingtonia fens and their adjacent upland forests, we found that the effects of disturbance by fire depended on habitat type. In forests, fire intensity predicted richness in ant assemblages in both years after the fire, and plant community composition predicted richness 2 years after the fire. No factors were associated with richness in the species-poor fen ant assemblages. Species-specific responses to both habitat type and disturbance by fire were idiosyncratic. Assemblage composition depended on habitat type, but not disturbance by fire, and the composition of each assemblage between years was more dissimilar in burned than unburned sites.