Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Los efectos de la elevación y el uso de la tierra en la actividad y diversidad de especies de hormigas


Laura Heil



Download Full Text (98 KB)

Publication Date

May 2009


In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the effects that humans have on Earth’s ecosystems. Approximately 39 to 50% of the Earth’s land has been transformed or degraded by human activity (Vitousek et al. 1997). Ten to fifteen percent of that land has been altered for row-crop agriculture or for industrial development and six to eight percent has been converted to pastureland. These transformations represent the leading causes of decreases in biodiversity. As a result, they alter the global biogeochemical cycles and have considerable effects on climate change. Humans contribute more and more everyday to climate change and it is known that many species are moving up in elevation in response to these changes. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of elevation and land use on ant activity and ant species diversity. I recorded the time it took for ants to arrive at a bait trap on an elevational gradient (1000 masl, 1375 masl, 1550 masl, and 1800 masl) in forest sites versus pasture sites in the Monteverde area. Then, I separated the collected ants into morphospecies in order to calculate species diversity. I found that as elevation increases, ant activity and ant species diversity decreases in the pasture sites. Also, ant activity and species diversity were higher in the pasture sites than in the forests sites. These results indicate that elevation and land use affect ant activity and ant species diversity. Provided that ants are good bioindicators, elevation and land use also impact invertebrate activity and diversity.


El propósito de este estudio fue examinar el efecto de la altitud y el uso de las tierras en la actividad y diversidad de especies de hormigas.


Species diversity, Ants, Indicators (Biology), CIEE Spring 2009

Palabras claves

Diversidad de especies, Hormigas, Indicadores (Biología), CIEE Primavera 2009


6 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





The effects of elevation and land use on ant activity and ant species diversity



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