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Ecology, 90(9), 2009, pp. 23842392 2009 by the Ecological Society of America
 

Summary: Ecology, 90(9), 2009, pp. 2384≠2392
” 2009 by the Ecological Society of America
Quantitative synthesis of context dependency
in ant≠plant protection mutualisms
SCOTT A. CHAMBERLAIN
1
AND J. NATHANIEL HOLLAND
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005 USA
Abstract. Context dependency, variation in the outcome of species interactions with
biotic and abiotic conditions, is increasingly considered ubiquitous among mutualisms.
Despite several qualitative reviews of many individual empirical studies, there has been little
quantitative synthesis examining the generality of context dependency, or conditions that may
promote it. We conducted a meta-analysis of ant≠plant protection mutualisms to examine the
generality of context-dependent effects of ants on herbivory and plant performance (growth,
reproduction). Our results show that ant effects on plants are not generally context dependent,
but instead are routinely positive and rarely neutral, as overall effect sizes of ants in reducing
herbivory and increasing plant performance were positive and significantly greater than 0. The
magnitude of these positive effects did vary, however. Variation in plant performance was not
explained by the type of biotic or abiotic factor examined, including plant rewards (extrafloral
nectar, food bodies, domatia), ant species richness, plant growth form, or latitude. With the

  

Source: Azevedo, Ricardo - Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston
Holland, J. Nathaniel - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology